STILLWATER — When prep quarterback Luke Del Rio of Highlands Ranch, Colo., committed to Oklahoma State last week, he claims his mother, Linda, expressed more excitement than he did.
“Now I can hang out with Terri again!” Luke said enthusiastically, mimicking his mom's higher voice.
The “Terri” here is Terri Monken, the wife of OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken. That reaction is an example of how close the two families are, and why it was so easy for Luke to pledge to the Cowboys about a week after receiving a scholarship offer.
Luke is the son of Jack Del Rio, the former head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars who now serves as the defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos. From 2007-10, Todd Monken was on the Jaguars' staff as the wide receivers coach.
During that time, the wives, of course, became great friends. So did Luke and Tyler Monken, Todd and Terri's son. And Luke said his dad still thinks of Todd as one of his all-time favorite assistants because of his intense and passionate coaching style.
As a young quarterback, it was only natural that Luke would hang around the players Todd was coaching when he frequented Jaguars practice. So Luke was constantly exposed to the completely uncensored version of Todd's fiery personality.
And it's a personality he gravitates toward.
“I just think in my head about every single practice, about how he was getting after guys, rookies especially,” Luke said. “He would ride them hard, but he would also let them know when they did it perfectly or were improving.
“During games in Jacksonville, he would always yell out the personnel — ‘11, 11!' or ‘22, 22!' — and he's spanking guys on the butt when they're going out there and saying ‘Let's get pumped up.' He's all in their face, and that's what I love.”
Combine that with the Cowboys' offensive system — “they run all pro concepts, just out of the shotgun,” Luke said — and Luke wanted to commit on the spot when he was offered two weeks ago.
Jack told his son to take some time to think about it. But when Luke, Jack and Luke's high school coach, Brent Vieselmeyer, met a few days later to weigh the pros and cons of all of Luke's offers (OSU, Colorado State and Oregon State), Luke had already made up his mind.
“I was like ‘I don't even know why we're really doing this, because I know where I want to go,'” Luke said.
A big part of that eagerness to commit — and confidence in his decision — is because Luke knows exactly what's in store with Todd as his quarterbacks coach.
And he expects to thrive under that coaching style.
“I've always been coached hard,” Luke said. “I like it that way, and that's what I'm looking forward to. My dad has just told me that that's what it's going to be like, and I need to get ready. I'm pumped.”