One of the top players ever to grace football fields in Ohio is former Cincinnati St. Xavier linebacker Luke Kuechly.
Tuesday, Kuechly surprised everyone announcing his retirement from the National Football League after a stealer career with the Carolina Panthers.
We look back at Kuechly’s career from his days as a member of the St. Xavier Bombers through college and the NFL.
“In my heart, I know it’s the right thing to do.” pic.twitter.com/mSDyJ0iEMw— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) January 15, 2020
A member of the Class of 2009, Kuechly was one of the top prospects in Southwest Ohio that didn’t receive the recruiting attention he deserved. He would receive offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Duke, Illinois, Louisville, Michigan State, Stanford and Virginia to name a few and was considered a three-star prospect by the recruiting media.
Playing a roaming linebacker/safety at 6-foot-3, 205-pounds, Kuechly would have a monster year as a junior posting 147 tackles while playing on one of the all-time great Bombers squads as they were crowned Division One state champions.
During his senior season Kuechly would post 130 tackles on a team that struggled against a schedule that included out of state programs Prattville (AL), Don Bosco Prep (NJ), Trinity (KY), and Cathedral (IN) as well as in state powers Colerain, Lakewood St. Edward and St. Ignatius to go with their regular Greater Catholic League rivals.
Kuechly ended his recruitment with a verbal pledge in January of 2009 to Boston College and report that summer.
Kuechly arrived at Boston College without a lot of pressure as the Eagles had the reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Year Mark Herzlich returning. Unfortunately, Herzlich would be diagnosed with Eqing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer prior to the season and Kuechly became the starting outside linebacker as a true freshman. That season saw Kuechly record 158 total tackles, which led the team and conference and earning him the 2009 ACC Defensive Rookie of the year. He would also be named to the CFN All-Freshman Defensive Team and to the CFN All-American team.
As a sophomore Kuechly was a finalist for the Butkus and Nagurski awards and was named a unanimous first-team All-American.
His junior season was just as impressive as he would leave Boston College as their all-time leader in tackles and hold the same mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference having played in a total of 38 games and posting 532 total tackles while also being named the winner of the Butkus, Lombardi, Lott IMPACT, and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy while also being named a consensus first-team All-American for the second consecutive season.
Following his junior season, Kuechly announced he would forgo his final year at Boston College and enter the 2012 NFL Draft. After impressive combine and pro day workouts, the Carolina Panthers selected Kuechly in the first round with the ninth overall pick and signed him to a 4-year, $12.58 million contract.
Just like he’d done in college, Kuechly quickly made a name for himself as one of the top players in the NFL. By his second season he would earn the NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors and never look back earning multiple First Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors during a career that saw him play in 118 games and record 1,092 tackles.
Luke Kuechly was one of those kids you always looked forward to interviewing during his career at St. Xavier. He never stressed about recruiting and his upbringing made his choice of Boston College an easy one. He played the game with great passion and as you can see from his comments on his retirement from the game, he leaves it with great passion.