Carolina Panthers star linebacker Luke Keuchly is off to another great start in the 2013 NFL season. So far in the first three weeks, he has recorded 29 tackles and one interception. Keuchly is ranked sixth in the league with total tackles. What’s most impressive about Keuchly is the fact that it’s only his second year in the NFL.
Keuchly was selected ninth overall in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Panthers. He played three years at Boston College. He was named starting outside linebacker his freshman year and ended up leading the team and conference in tackles. His sophomore year, he led the whole country in total tackles with 183. Keuchly’s final year at Boston, he led the nation with 191 total tackles during the regular season. Once the season was over, Keuchly was awarded the Rotary Lombardi Award, which is given to the best defensive lineman or linebacker in college.
With his fantastic college football resume, Keuchly decided to join the NFL Draft a year early. This decision appeared to work in his favor. With his first year as a Panther, he led the entire NFL with a 164 total tackles. He also recorded one sack and two interceptions. For his incredible performance during the 2012 season, he was awarded the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year. This was huge for him and the Panthers organization considering quarterback Cam Newton received the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year award the season prior. This shows the Panthers have some very young and talented players on the roster that will make this organization very successful in the years to come.
To begin the 2013 season, the Panthers made Kuechly a captain for the defense. Since the start, he has been all over the ball making plays on defense. For a young guy, he has great character and leadership skills. The Panthers defense needs him to step up as a player and a leader, especially after the injuries to the secondary. If Kuechly isn’t making a direct play on the ball, he is filling holes and taking on blockers to free up his teammates to make the play. Off the field, Kuechly has remained professional and smart with the media. He has proven to be a very mature young player, and has a bright future ahead of him with the Panthers.