Senior defensive end Luke Packard grew up in Dallas, Texas as one of seven children. Packard and his six siblings were reared by disciplined and goal-oriented parents who would prefer their son to make the Dean’s List instead of being chosen an All-American. Packard started playing tackle football in the fourth grade, but says he will not let his kids play until seventh grade. From sophomore year of high school on, he played both varsity basketball and varsity football, the latter as safety. At 6 feet 3 inches tall and 185 pounds, the high-school athlete was a basketball player first. It was the mentorship of his high school football coach that lead the Trinity record holder for both single season and career sacks to pursue college football instead of basketball.
Packard walked back on a commitment to play for Tulane University when he gained a sense that he would not have full autonomy over his intended major or graduation date at the Division I institution. It was a desire to play football without the sport dominating his life that Packard came to another university with the same initials. The economics and business administration double major hopes to work in healthcare law and plans to attend law school after two years of working in the healthcare field.
The student athlete started his Trinity career playing on special teams. He played nine games his first year, and all 10 in the following three seasons. He began starting his sophomore year, but only on rotation. It was his junior year, when he began playing full games, that Packard really figured out his role. This past year, he lead Division III football in sacks.
What was the top challenge of your career?
“My shoulder injury sophomore year. I’ve never had a significant injury I had to miss a game for. It was a lingering injury that persisted through my junior year and this season so it was never something I had to directly deal with. But, I guess it was more of a mental thing of telling myself I could still do it. I couldn’t physically move like I wanted to and I couldn’t move people like I wanted to before I had hurt it, so I had to mentally get over it.”
What has Trinity football taught you?
“I learned a lot about football in general, but a lot of it was life lessons like time management and being able to focus all of your attention on one thing when it’s that set time. For practice, for those two and half, three hours in the morning you got to focus on only that and it’s hard to keep out school and other worries — like, I have a project or a presentation that day. One thing I got really good at is planning my weeks ahead and then just focusing on what I have to do in that specific moment, and honestly, that’s more of what football has taught me here than anything that has to do with actually playing football.”
What will you remember most?
“There’s a saying from our old head coach: you’ll always remember your first game and you’ll always remember your last game. Honestly it’ll be the last game I’ll remember, probably the last play which was sort of a meaningless play. We just took a knee but I got to go on offense and just be there, just line up, they snapped the ball and we took a knee and that was it, but I’ll always remember that last game with everyone on the team.”
Describe each member of TUF senior class in one word.
Joshua Cook. Cool.
Cody Sandman. Old.
Robert Molina. Strategist.
Adam Saunders. Buckets.
Austin Grauer. Big-hearted.
Cole Brewer. Nuts.
Bo Black. Amiable.
Brad Hood. Machine.
Julian Turner. Goofball.
Joseph Staggs. Good.
Zachary Allen. Crazy.
Brandon Greer. Absurd.
Ryan Bernal. Dedicated.
“We came in with a group of over 50 guys and we ended up with 13 seniors and so we’ve been through a lot of stuff together. It’s really an experience to be a football player in college because it ends up being year round, so it’s tough, but you get some lifelong bonds with these guys.”