116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — There is nothing forbidden in their conversations. Jim and Luke Lachey are father and son.
That Jim is Ohio State’s radio color commentator, a former Buckeyes’ playing legend, and Luke a tight end for the Iowa Hawkeyes means nothing. Blood trumps football bonds.
Some of the ins and outs of each program are discussed between the two.
“We don’t keep secrets from each other,” Luke Lachey said at Iowa’s recent media day. “That’s just between me and him and the people in my family. There’s really nothing too much off limits. He loves Iowa.”
A redshirt freshman, Luke Lachey is listed as Iowa’s backup tight end behind starter Sam LaPorta on the depth chart released last week leading into the season opener against Indiana. The 6-foot-6, 248-pounder played late in one game last season, a blowout win over Michigan State.
Lachey was a four-year varsity guy in football and basketball at Grandview High School in Columbus, Ohio, playing tight end, wide receiver and defensive back in football. He never was offered a scholarship by Ohio State, where Jim Lachey was an All-America offensive lineman.
Jim Lachey played 10 seasons in the National Football League, was a three-time Pro Bowl player and won a Super Bowl with Washington.
“I wouldn’t say (it was disappointing),” Luke Lachey said of not getting offered by his hometown school and dad’s alma mater. “I’d say I’m at a good place, obviously. I made the right choice.”
Lachey said Iowa’s history with tight ends was a definite factor in his decision to become a Hawkeye. He had myriad other offers and made an official visit to Michigan State.
“For sure that was a big selling point,” he said. “On my campus visit, the other guys that were here, we developed a lot of good, true friendships … Specifically, (quarterback) Deuce Hogan. Me and him really got along. That’s what we decided, that we wanted to be roommates before I actually committed here. Then there were some other guys. Plus the guys that were here, they were very welcoming. And the coaches as well were very good.”
“Luke’s a great athlete,” LaPorta said. “He works his butt off, just like every other tight end we have. I’m really excited to see what he can do on the field, as well as the other tight ends. Just a great athlete, works his butt off, and he’s always picking my brain whenever he can.”
Lachey said that latter thing was a must. A junior, LaPorta has emerged into perhaps Iowa’s next great tight end.
“I’m just asking him everything I can,” Lachey said. “He’s been in the offense, this is his third year. He’s done a great job here, especially last season. So as we’ve kind of grown closer and stuff on the field, it’s just asking him a lot of questions.”
LaPorta led Iowa in receptions last season with 27 and was second in receiving yardage. That built on a successful true freshman season that saw him catch six passes in the 2020 Holiday Bowl win over USC.
“I’ve asked myself that question a lot,” LaPorta said, when asked what he wants to accomplish this season. “I want to help the team as much as I can, whether that’s run-support blocking or catching the ball in critical situations. I like to think of myself as a security blanket. I don’t always need the ball, but if it’s a critical situation, I’ll show up when I need to. Of course, I want to help the run game as much as I can. I want to catch more blocks, drive my guy as far as I can down the field as far as possible. That’s where I see myself this year.”
LaPorta came to Iowa from Highland High School in Illinois, which is located on the other side of the Mississippi River from St. Louis. He chose the Hawkeyes over offers from Mid-American Conference schools Central Michigan and Bowling Green.
He said a recommendation to the Iowa staff from Edwardsville (Ill.) High School Coach Matt Martin played a factor in Iowa’s decision to recruit him. Martin coached former Iowa player and current Buffalo Bills defensive end A.J. Epenesa and is the father of Iowa women’s basketball player Kate Martin.
“I’ve actually talked to Kate about that,” LaPorta said. “I told her ‘Hey, thank your dad the next time you see him or talk to him.’ It’s a small world.”
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