MURRAY— Calloway County’s football nominee for Athlete of the Year is a newcomer that burst onto the scene last year by the name of Luke Schwepker.
By the end of the season, Schwepker had amassed over 1,000 yards of total offense and 18 TDs. In just one year, Schwepker went from unknown secret weapon to the guy with the most eyes on him every play in the Lakers spread system.
“Last year was my first year playing varsity football, so it’s very humbling just to be nominated for an award like this,” Schwepker said.
Chris Champion, the Calloway County head coach, said it was a pretty easy decision to nominate Schwepker.
“When you talk about nominating somebody for an award like that, you have to look at their physical prowess in their sport,” Champion said. “Last year, his junior season, he made coaches take note of what he can do, and every coaching conference that I’ve been to in western Kentucky, everybody is walking up to me and asking about that kid that I had on my team … for other coaches to compliment him, to me that’s the ultimate compliment.”
It’s not just the success on the field that makes Schwepker a worthy nominee. It’s also the way he goes about practicing and the time and effort he puts into becoming the best he can be for himself and his teammates.
“For me personally, it’s all the stuff that people don’t see on film that makes him worthy of an award like that,” Champion said. “The extra time that he spends on the field, all by himself, working on routes. The times that he goes to Murray State and invites his friends to go and catch balls. The extra time he spends in the weight room. Joining the track team so he can get faster for football and really buying in and dedicating himself to that and helping the 4x200 meter relay team win a state championship. It’s all the little stuff that nobody sees; that makes him the candidate most worthy of an award like that.”
Luke said he spends a lot of time after practice working on routes, footwork, catching, or he will put in extra time in the weight room. Part of the reasoning behind this work ethic is the advice he gets from his dad. Dave Schwepker is the head coach of the volleyball team at Murray State and he knows what it takes to make it to the collegiate level.
“He tells me a lot about what it takes to be a D-1 athlete. He’s helped me out a lot,” Luke said.
Now college coaches are taking notice too.
“Obviously, we’re going to love him over here and we’re going to play him, but when everybody else takes notice, that’s when you’re really making yourself an elite talent,” Champion said. “College coaches are coming in and wanting to see his film and wanting to meet with him.”
If these college coaches were to view Luke during a practice session, they wouldn’t see a lot of talk. That’s not how he operates. Instead, Luke prefers to keep his head down and lead his teammates through effort.
“He’s a quiet leader,” Champion said. “The big focus we have on our team is ‘shut up and grind,’ and that’s what he does. He does everything we ask out of him. He works every single route and he’s constantly asking questions. He’s interested in how the game is played, and how it needs to be played, and why we do things the way that we do. He’s a very cerebral player. He’s obviously physically gifted, but he wants to know the ins-and-outs of everything that we are doing.”
The most important thing for Luke isn’t the accolades and awards. It’s not catches and touchdowns. It’s the outcome of the game.
“I don’t care as much about stats as I do winning,” Schwepker said.
That is the epitome of a team-first player. That’s who Luke Schwepker is.