Archbishop Murphy offensive lineman Abraham Lucas will be joining Washington State University’s football team this fall. (Daniella Beccaria / The Herald)

Archbishop Murphy offensive lineman Abraham Lucas will be joining Washington State University’s football team this fall. (Daniella Beccaria / The Herald)

Murphy O-lineman Lucas set to sign LOI with Washington State

EVERETT — Prior to last season, Abraham Lucas had never played on the offensive line before.

But knowing it would be advantageous for both his high school team and his football future, the 6-foot-8, 260-pound Archbishop Murphy senior decided last summer to move from tight end to left tackle.

The position switch paid dividends for the Wildcats last fall, solidifying a dominant offensive line that helped pave the way for the program’s first-ever Class 2A state title.

And the move benefited Lucas by preparing him for his future at Washington State University, where the Cougars envision him as an offensive tackle.

Lucas announced his commitment to play football at WSU last August, prior to his senior season with the Wildcats, and is scheduled to sign his National Letter of Intent on Wednesday during a National Signing Day ceremony at Archbishop Murphy.

“WSU expressed interest early on in the recruiting process and they were the ones who built a really, really solid relationship with me, and they’re continuing to do so,” Lucas said. “I’m really, really appreciative of that. And I went and checked out WSU on several occasions, and I really liked it. I prefer to be more of a homebody. I wanted to stay in-state anyway as I thought about it more and more, and so I chose WSU.

“It’s a huge blessing for me not only to continue playing the sport I love, but I’m also thinking of my parents, who have done so much for me and won’t have to pay a dime for my college experience,” Lucas added.

Lucas, who also played defensive end for Archbishop Murphy, said he initially was somewhat “hesitant” about moving from tight end to tackle on offense. He’d always pictured himself as a tight end and was a little unsure about learning a brand-new position as a senior.

But from both a personal standpoint and team perspective, there were reasons to move. WSU viewed Lucas as an offensive tackle, and thus it would be beneficial to gain experience at the position prior to college. And after losses to graduation the previous season, Archbishop Murphy was in need of a new left tackle.

“I thought about it for a while and then I told my head coach, ‘If it’s going to be for the betterment of the team, I’m going to play offensive line,’” Lucas said. “I didn’t think I’d like the position, but I actually really like it now. It’s going to be cool to be able to get better and bigger, faster, stronger at WSU.

“It was difficult at first,” Lucas said of learning the new position. “Last year was my first year, so I definitely have a lot of work to do. But it’s cool knowing that you’ve got four other guys to the right of you who are going to work together and try to keep the quarterback safe and everything.”

Archbishop Murphy coach Jerry Jensen said Lucas is a great fit at left tackle, which is often considered one of the most important positions in football.

“Abe’s so long that (for any defender) coming off that edge, it just makes that a really long path,” Jensen said. “And so in order to get pressure on (the quarterback) and affect the passing game, you’d have to get around Abe, which is a pretty difficult thing to do.

“And he kept developing and continued to grow in the run game and progressively worked behind his pads. When you get a guy (who’s) 6-foot-8 and 260 pounds moving downhill, it’s a force to be reckoned with.”

Lucas progressed nicely as the season went on, Jensen said, providing ample time for the passing game and opening gaping holes for the rushing attack in a high-powered offense that averaged 51.4 points per contest. He currently is ranked by Scout.com as the third-best offensive tackle in the state and No. 118 in the country.

“He was definitely a big part of the success,” said Jensen, who believes Lucas still has considerable upside. “For a kid that only played offensive tackle for a year — and left tackle at that — he made great strides, and it’ll be really interesting to see how his growth continues over the course of his college career.”

Lucas also excelled at defensive end last season, wreaking havoc on opposing offenses while recording 15 total sacks for an average of 1.9 sacks per game. He played a key role on a stifling Archbishop Murphy defense that yielded just 4.9 points per game.

“His length and the amount of area he’s able to cover — he’d take three steps and he was already at the quarterback, as opposed to some of those shorter guys that are taking five to six,” Jensen said. “So his explosiveness was really evident there, and his athleticism being able to get around the edge.”

Lucas was a two-way first-team selection on both the All-Cascade Conference and Herald All-Area teams last season. Yet far more significant than any individual stats or accolades, Lucas said, was the accomplishment of winning the state title with his teammates.

“It was probably up there in the top experiences I’ve ever had in my life,” Lucas said. “It was great to do it with all the people you love and care for. My teammates, as brothers, we really came together amidst all the adversity throughout the season, so that made it even more special.”

Though football is now Lucas’ primary sport and athletic future, basketball was long his first love. Lucas, an athletic center who has been playing hoops since kindergarten, currently is leading the Archbishop Murphy basketball team with 16.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.

“I thought I was going to be a basketball player for a really, really long time,” Lucas said. “But the more I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that there’s not really any 6-8 centers (in college), and I’m not really growing as fast anymore as I once was. I might get to 6-9, but I’m not going to be like 7-foot or anything.

“And last season, I came to realize that I loved football so much just because of the brotherhood that it surrounds you with,” Lucas added. “It’s really nothing like any other sport.”

Football really started to click for Lucas as a junior, when he began excelling on defense. The turning point came after being benched at one point during the season, which lit a spark in him.

“I started working (hard) to get back into the starting lineup,” Lucas said. “And then when I did, that same work ethic that I had in practice translated onto the field as well. I put together a pretty good highlight tape my junior year and then got noticed a little bit.”

Lucas followed that with an impressive senior season on both sides of the ball, including a strong first year at offensive tackle that he will look to build on at Washington State.

“I think the Cougs are getting somebody that has unlimited athletic potential,” Jensen said. “And some may look at it as a little bit of a project. But you look at a kid that only played offensive tackle for one season, and at the level with which he was able to compete at, they’re getting a guy that — just based on physical characteristics, if he continues to grow — is going to be a force within the college level, and who knows beyond that.”

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