STILLWATER — Luke Del Rio has not had a typical childhood.
As the son of Jack Del Rio, the Denver Broncos' defensive coordinator and former head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, he's moved 18 times and lived in seven different states. He's used to the praise and criticism that comes with having his family in the public eye. And this summer, he's been picking the brain of Peyton Manning during Broncos OTAs.
Luke, a three-star quarterback from Valor Christian in Highlands Ranch, Colo., committed to Oklahoma State last week. He talked with The Oklahoman's Gina Mizell about his decision to pledge to the Cowboys, his famous father and what he's learned while growing up around the NFL.
Q: How did you come to the decision to commit to OSU?
A: They were my dream school, so I wanted to commit on the spot. I talked to my dad about it and he was like, “No you can't do that. You've got to wait.” I was like, “OK fine.” I waited a couple days, and I was actually losing sleep over it, because I knew that's where I wanted to go and I didn't want it them to come down to a decision and have to go in another direction. I committed for all the right reasons. Coach Monken, known him forever. Coach Gundy is obviously a great coach. And I love the offense. I think it's one of the best offenses a quarterback can be in, especially if they want to go to the NFL, because they run all pro concepts, just out of shotgun.
What's it been like growing up as the son of one of the most prominent names in the NFL?
Being in the same place for nine years was incredible. I got to build a great relationship with a few players. (Jaguars kicker) Josh Scobee was probably the one player that I hung out with the most. Great guy. When you see when rookies come in, you see why some don't work out and why some thrive. This is why the scouting process is so flawed — there's a lot more than this guy runs fast, this guy jumps high or this guy can throw it a mile. Ultimately, that stuff barely even matters. You have to be able to do it, but it's really what is his work ethic? Is he coachable? What does he act like when takes a bad rep? Does he pick up his teammates? You see all of these little things.
How much have you gotten to interact with Peyton Manning since he signed with the Broncos?
I think (Wednesday) was the fifth OTA I've been to. I've been in the quarterback meetings. I'm literally on his hip the entire day. If I was him, I'd be getting kind of annoyed (laughs). This is one of the rarest opportunities that a guy like me can get, and I'm not going to waste it. I'm just taking advantage of it and seizing the opportunity, because I realize how great he is. Being with Blaine (Gabbert) last year, he's a rookie, so you get the whole spectrum of it. You have a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and you have a rookie. I got to see both aspects of it.
What's the biggest thing you've already learned from him?
The details. Every protection, every audible, every hot route, he needs to know and he wants to know. There probably doesn't go a minute where he isn't talking to a player, talking to a coach, fixing, adjusting, talking to the O-line. With all of that, you take it in and you see just how deliberate and nonstop he is. He's relentless.
He is a perfectionist at everything. If something isn't right, it can be the tiniest thing, one missed block. Most guys would say, “Hey, we'll get it next time.” He's back on the ball, everybody's back on the ball, we're going to do it again. Sometimes he'll even do it two or three times to make sure he ingrains it in the person's mind.
Was it hard dealing with the outside criticism your dad was getting before he was let go in Jacksonville? Are you able to shut the rest of the world out to that kind of stuff?
There are two sides to it. You can either overreact to everything and fight with everybody that says anything about your dad. Of course, you want to defend your parent, but it comes with the territory. I think it was time in Jacksonville, and we moved on. I kind of shut everything out, but during the season you'd get a “Jaguars suck” or something like that, and you just use it as fuel. I get this a lot — “He's just going to Oklahoma State because of who his dad is,” and nothing has fueled me more than that. That is the single most, the strongest motivation that drives me in everyday life.