Player Profile #63 – TE Luke Stocker

It has become one of the tougher to find positions in the NFL these days – the classic tight end.

Whether it’s the direction of offenses or the talent pool available each year out of the college football ranks. But tight ends these days always seem to be either guys who are at their best split out and running routes, or the big body tight blockers.

From out of the University of Tennessee comes an old-school TE – Luke Stocker. He played for three different head coaches in his last three years with the Volunteers, allowing him to become familiar with a host of offensive concepts, including the pro-style scheme that was brought to Knoxville by Lane Kiffin.

He did not put up record breaking numbers, but Stocker improved every season, despite dealing with a changing offense and quarterback situation.

Here’s his story. 

FAMILY MATTERS

Lucas Aaron Stocker

Born – July 17, 1988 in Berea, Kentucky.

Family – Married Daine Karst of Kingsport, Tennessee in late December 2010. She was Miss Kingsport 2008 and contestant in the Miss Tennessee pageant. His father is unknown, mother Pamela Johnson, stepfather Jeff Johnson and one sister, Rachel. Luke grew up in Berea, Kentucky, one of the fastest growing towns in the country over the last decade, growing from 9,800 residents in 2000 to an estimated 14,400 in 2008. The town sits approximately 40 miles south of Lexington.

BODY OF WORK

  • Height – 6-feet, 4¾ inches.
  • Weight – 258 pounds.
  • Arm – 33 inches.
  • Hand – 9¾ inches.
  • 40-yard dash – 4.68 seconds.
  • 20-yard dash – 2.72 seconds.
  • 10-yard dash – 1.62 seconds.
  • Bench press – 27 repetitions at 225 pounds.
  • Vertical jump – 33 inches.
  • Broad jump – 9-feet, 7 inches.

HIGH SCHOOL

Stocker was part of the class of 2006 that graduated from Madison Southern High School part of the Madison County School System in Berea, Kentucky.

He was a three-year starter for the Eagles and head coach Doug Carter. He played tight end, fullback, defensive end and defensive tackle during his high school career.

Two-time all conference honors highlighted his junior and senior seasons. It was in his senior season of 2005 that he was named first-team All-State by the Louisville Courier-Journal and third team by the Lexington Herald.

He played basketball, averaged 17 points as a junior forward and won all-district and all-region honors. He also earned academic all-state honors in both football and basketball seasons.

FOOTBALL

2005 – The Eagles had a 9-3 season and lost in the state playoffs to Bell County. Stocker caught 36 passes for 560 yards and 5 TDs. Playing defensive tackle, he had 48 tackles, 21 TFL, 14 sacks and recovered six fumbles.

2004 – Stocker caught 38 passes for 328 yards and 1 TD, and on defense added 17 TFL as Madison Southern finished with a 3-7 record.

RECRUITING

There was interest in Stocker from a host of SEC teams and others – Tennessee, Auburn, Duke, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville and Vanderbilt. He received offers from Tennessee, Duke, Kentucky and Louisville, but signed on with the Volunteers in December 2005.

COLLEGE

Stocker graduated in May 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in sports management and he began work in 2010-11 on a second degree in recreation and leisure studies.

Shared in Tennessee’s Fourth Quarter Award, presented to the players who compete with what the school calls “the intangible values that provide the foundation of the UT football program: attitude, discipline, toughness, effort and team.”

He finished his 52-game career with the Volunteers, catching 85 passes for 956 yards and 8 TDs.

2010 – Stocker started all 13 games and caught 39 passes for 417 yards and 2 TDs on the season.

2009 – He started all 13 games and finished up with 29 catches for 389 yards and 5 TDs. His best performance came against Kentucky when he caught 5 passes for 78 yards and a TD.

2008 – Opening all 12 games, he caught 13 passes for 139 yards.

2007 – Stocker appeared in all 14 games, catching 4 passes for 11 yards and a TD. The first TD catch of his career came against Alabama.

2006 – Redshirt season.

Year

G

S

Rec.

Yards

TDs

2010

13

13

39

417

2

2009

13

13

29

389

5

2008

12

12

13

139

0

2007

14

0

4

11

1

2006

0

0

x

x

X

Totals

52

38

85

956

8

EVALUATION FOR PRO FOOTBALL

Strengths – Stocker combines the perfect physical numbers for a tight end with good athletic ability. For a man his size, he has good agility and body control and is quick off the snap. As a receiver he’s runs solid routes and has very good football intelligence, getting into a position to always help out his quarterback. He’s very good at finding the holes in the zone coverage. He has soft hands and runs hard after the catch; with his size that makes him hard to bring down on the first tackle attempt. As a blocker he’s just OK on the line, but better when he’s moving, especially down field. He’s a tough guy who did not miss a game during his college career.

Weaknesses – Speed is not part of Stocker’s package and he’s a bit lumbering as he runs downfield. He will not stretch the field vertically in any fashion. He seems to handle most blitz situations as a blocker, but sometimes reaches and that gets him off-balance and makes him ineffective. He has trouble sustaining his blocks and he’ll need a lot of coaching and a lot of practice snaps to learn how to sink his hips and hold his spot.

Analysis – Stocker is a solid player, who won’t likely be considered a great receiver, but he provides a more old-school talent at the position – he can catch and he can block. He’s not going to be used often as a slot receiver like some smaller TEs are in today’s game. He could play H-Back as well. He’ll stick in the league and play for a long time because of his intelligence, toughness and willingness to take a pounding when catching the ball. He needs to improve as a blocker.

WHAT THE SCOUTS SAY

A scout for an AFC team said – “This kid played for three different head coaches at Tennessee, with all the different types of offenses they brought to the team and he adapted to all of them and was effective.”

An offensive coordinator for an AFC team said – “He’s what every team is looking for in some fashion at the position, the classic tight end in what he can do. He probably won’t be a team’s No., 1, but I think he’ll become some quarterback’s best friend because of his ability to get open and catch the ball.”

WHAT HE HAS TO SAY

“I fell in love with the sport and from that point I’ve just kept grinding and trying to become the best player I could be. Once I got to high school, I had aspirations of playing college football. That was a dream and I worked my tail off and obviously that dream came true. And then when I got here, my dream was to make my mark at Tennessee and try to get to the NFL. That’s what I’m trying to do now.”

“When you’re at Tennessee as a tight end, you hear about Jason Witten all the time. He kind of set the standard at Tennessee for what expectations are. I’ve actually worked out with him a couple of times. He’s one of the best in the league, probably the purest route runner in the league. He came back last summer, he worked out with me quite a bit and we built up a little bit of relationship. He’s an awesome guy and he cares about the University of Tennessee. He’s obviously a great player.”

WHAT OTHERS SAY

Charles Davis, analyst for NFL Network – “What I see from Stocker more than anything is not so much Jason Witten, but really more Brad Cottam. (Stocker’s) got a longer build, he’s not as fast as Witten and as shifty in and out of breaks. But he’s crafty, he understands how to play the game and he’s a true effort guy and will block you.”

DOES HE FIT WITH THE CHIEFS?

All the intangibles are very tangible with this young man and they are among the best that could be found in this draft pool. The question with Stocker is his upside and what he can become on the field. He’s a solid catching TE that needs to improve his blocking. Pioli/Haley already have a better receiving TE than Stocker in Tony Moeaki and better blocking tight ends in Moeaki and Leonard Pope (free agent). He would be an upgrade from Pope in 2012, but probably not in 2011.

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