Overcoming adversity is a part of Jake Luton’s journey.
The former Oregon State quarterback overcame a thoracic spine injury in 2017 and a sprained ankle in 2018 to help pilot the Beavers to their first five-win season since 2014. His determination earned him the 2019 Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year award, a prestigious honor which recognizes a player who battled injury or illness.
The award speaks volumes of Luton’s tenacity. His injury-plagued past isn’t just a part of who he is, but also who he's become.
At the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday, Luton talked about how the game of football has taught him perseverance, something he has experienced first-hand in his collegiate career at Oregon State.
“I’ve had my share of getting knocked down,” Luton said. “I just keep getting back up. I keep fighting. I think that’s something that will help me in this process. I think team’s will see that and see that I have the ability to —I’m a fighter.”
In his “comeback kid” season in 2019, Luton started 11 games, throwing for 2,714 yards while completing 62.0 percent of his passes. He was named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year on two occasions and appeared on the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm and Maxwell Award watch lists.
Luton completed his career at Oregon State playing 23 games with 21 starts and finished his career fifth all-time with 42 passing touchdowns and 5,227 passing yards.
He reflected on his final year with the Beavers and credited then second-year coach Jonathan Smith with the team's mounting success.
“He’s gonna turn that around,” Luton said of Smith. “I think we proved it this year. We kind of got the ball rolling. Would have liked to get a few more wins than we got, but just to make the strides that we did. They have a lot of great guys in that system. I think they’ll kind of keep taking that next stride and I’m excited to see them work.”
In his career at Oregon State, Luton played 23 games with 21 starts and finished his career fifth all-time with 42 passing touchdowns and 5,227 passing yards.
He is now ready to carve his path amongst the future of the NFL, starting at the combine. He'll use the pre-draft process to prove his rousing success in college can be carried into his professional football career.
The 6-6, 224-pound quarterback has already gained the attention of teams like the Texans and Patriots, who reportedly pulled him aside for informal interviews this week. Now, he just has to do what he's been doing since the 2017 season, be patient, trust the process and persevere.
And if Luton's name gets called in April, he will be ready.
"I’m going to be prepared as best as I can be," Luton said. "I’ve never let any of the outside noise distract me, so I don’t think that would be an issue. I’d bring it every day and prove that I’m a leader, no matter if it’s a high or a low. Keep doing it every day, however that works out."
"I’m not going to worry about filling anyone’s shoes. Just doing the best that I can do.”