Luke Brockermeyer’s odyssey to becoming the starting Texas middle linebacker – drenched in sweat, persistence and family history – comes full circle on Saturday at the Red River Showdown.
It was a day that was nothing less than a vacation in Brockermeyer’s family for as long as he can remember.
“Either way, we never missed that game,” said Brockermeyer, a third-generation Longhorn who loved Texas so much that he passed up Air Force scholarship offers from Rice. and the State of Oregon for being a preferred alma mater replacement. of his father, mother and grandfather.
His father, Blake, was an All-American offensive tackle in Texas in 1994 and went on to play nine seasons in the NFL. His mother, Kristy, also graduated from Texas, and his grandfather, Kae, played for Darrell Royal on the Texas team in 1959.
“It’s the old cliché. We’re a football family in Texas. It means everything to us,” Luke said.
But there is a bit of twist this year.
Luke’s parents will make it a full day Saturday, their own little odyssey, with the Lone Star State double-handed program. After attending the Oklahoma-Texas game at noon ET, they will board a luxury van waiting for them just outside the Cotton Bowl and rush to College Station with several friends for the Alabama-Texas A&M game at 8:00 p.m. ET. .
The youngest of four Brockermeyer siblings, twins Tommy and James, are first-year offensive linemen in Alabama, although they are expected to wear a red jersey this season and won’t make the trip. The Brockermeyers’ eldest son, Jack, graduated from Rice last year and is getting married in May.
Luke didn’t find out his parents were going to get the double until they told him last weekend after the TCU game. His first response: “Are you sure you want to do this?”
But after thinking about it, he wasn’t surprised.
“We are a tight-knit family and always have been,” said Luke. “I wouldn’t be where I am now without the support I got from my family. We’ve been playing tackle football since grade three. I got to play with Jack in high school when I was in grade one and in second grade, and Tommy and James got to play with me in my senior year. Those are moments that will last the rest of our lives. “
Blake, who has coached his four boys since they were little, expects even more of these moments, although he admits there will be mixed emotions next season when Alabama is due to travel to Texas on September 10. in Austin.
“I never dreamed that something like this would happen,” said Blake. “But as long as Luke is playing for Texas, we’ll always be cheering on the Longhorns.”
The reality is that Luke was an afterthought in the defensive plans of the previous Texan regime. He received a scholarship during the 2019 season, but was primarily used in special teams and recorded two career tackles in his first three years on campus.
“It was a crazy race. I played for the Boy Scout team last year, and now I’m a starting linebacker, ”said Luke, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound red-shirt junior. “But from the moment I got here I was focused on helping the team in any way I could. Now that my role has grown, that makes it even more special.”
Blake said the change in coach from Tom Herman to Steve Sarkisian gave Luke the openness he needs to finally step onto the pitch and prove he can be a player every time.
“Just having a new staff with a different outlook was huge for Luke,” said Blake. “A lot of new coaches come in and say it’s going to be a blank slate, but 99% of the time it’s not. I give Coach Sark and Coach [Jeff] Choate, Luke’s position coach, a lot of credit. He had a legitimate chance in the spring and made the most of it. “
In his first career start in the season opener against Louisiana, Luke recorded more tackles (10) than games he had played (seven) so far.
“The thing I’m most proud of is that he never even thought he wouldn’t hold up,” said Blake. “He kept the faith and never gave up, which in the age of the transfer portal wanting to stop and go is rare.”
That relentless persistence paid off for Luke, who entered the Red River Showdown as Texas’ second-best tackle with 33 overall saves and tied for the team’s lead with three tackles for a loss.
“Grass is always greener where you water it,” Luke said. “It’s not always greener on the other side.”
Blake admitted that watching the Alabama-Texas A&M game in a nightcap will be more fun because it won’t be as intense.
“It’s really different when your kids are playing outside,” he said. “There’s no hiding place. There’s a tackle missing, and everyone says your kid sucks. And then he’s doing something right, and everyone says, ‘Why wasn’t that kid playing before?’ Welcome to the world of college football, especially now. “
Luke and Kristy’s day will begin at 7:45 a.m. on Saturday when a driver picks them up from their Fort Worth home. They’ll meet up with friends in Dallas for a party (mariachi band and everyone) before crossing town to the Cotton Bowl, then heading into “enemy territory” at College Station. Blake thinks they’ll back off the next morning around 3 a.m.
“We will come back and recover for three days, but it will be worth it – a 2-0 Saturday,” Blake said confidently. “I hate A&M. I hate them worse than OU.”
He then jokingly said, “That was my selling point to James and Tommy. Go somewhere you can beat A&M every year.”
Of course, that was before Oklahoma and Texas announced plans to join the SEC. Plus, Blake was committed to letting his two youngest boys make their own decisions. And, yes, as a member of the Texas Longhorn Hall of Honor, Blake and his wife both got hot for Tommy and James not signing with the Longhorns.
But in the octagon of large-scale college football recruiting, it’s going to happen.
“Of course it wasn’t fun,” Blake said. “We both wish they were closer to home. But at the end of the day, it’s the kids who decide where they want to go because they’re the ones who get up at 5 am to practice. , go to workout every day and watch this whole movie.
“So if you get your kids to go somewhere they don’t want to go, that’s when the transfer portal kicks in.”
Luke and his younger brothers text pretty much every day, and he was also a resource for his brothers when they went through the recruiting process, as the recruiting of the three was different.
Tommy was ESPN’s No. 1 offensive tackle prospect in the country last year. James, not as tall as Tommy, was a four-star prospect at the center, but he didn’t have everyone in the country to pursue him as schools were chasing his twin brother.
Blake said the twins were able to put all of the recruiting hype into perspective after seeing how little interest Luke had coming out of high school and never let that deter him.
“With Luke there was a lot of ‘no’ and ‘not interested’,” Blake said. “It’s a hard and cold world when you get to that level. And then having your twin sons recruited was weird, especially when one of them is very recruited (Tommy) and the other is recruited, but not so. hard. You want to go to the same school, but some schools want both and some don’t. “
For example, Blake said Oklahoma proposed Tommy before Texas, and early in the process (before Sarkisian arrived) he said the Longhorns told James they were recruiting him, but more like a substitute. Iowa was quick to propose James, and Blake said Clemson wanted Tommy, but not James.
“It was back and forth and not very fun when one school wants one kid but the other doesn’t,” Blake said, adding that it ultimately comes down to Alabama and Texas.
Once Alabama moved all-in on Tommy and James, they couldn’t say no to Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide. Luke concedes he heard “noise” on social media when his brothers chose Alabama.
“But it’s social media,” Luke said. “People will love you some days and hate you on others.”
He was just glad his brothers were able to stay together.
“I told them to believe that they were making the right decision for themselves and that we were going to support them,” Luke said.
Later, however, the family history could take a back seat if Luke meets any of his twin brothers on the field, either next season in Austin or even in the 2023 season when Texas is expected to travel to Alabama. .
Luke, who is expected to graduate in May, has two more years of eligibility. He certainly plans to return next season, but doesn’t want to go too far when it comes to potential Brockermeyer v Brockermeyer clashes.
Not with what he calls the “best college football rivalry” looming.
“It took me a while to get to this moment, so I’m doing my best to stay in the moment,” Luke said.