Earlier this season, former Lake Travis standout Luke Hutton was named the 144th captain in the storied history of Harvard football.
A starting linebacker for Harvard, which first fielded a team in 1873, Hutton joined a group that includes NFL quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
“I am surrounded by such incredible guys,” said Hutton, who was elected captain by his teammates. “So many of them are leaders.”
Hutton’s duties as captain took on a more profound role on Sept. 16 when Crimson freshman defensive back Ben Abercrombie suffered a serious neck injury during a game against Rhode Island. Injured while making a tackle, Abercrombie has undergone several surgeries since being hurt and remains hospitalized in Rhode Island.
“It is something no one really has an answer for,” Hutton said. “It is a situation you never expect to be in. There is a reason, there is something to play for this season. It is beyond any individual.”
Hutton and his teammates so much want to present Abercrombie with a ring if they can win the Ivy League title this season. Harvard last topped the Ivy League in 2015, when the Crimson won a third straight league title, and the team will open conference play on the road Saturday at Cornell.
The Harvard defense got a solid tuneup for the Ivy League opener when the Crimson throttled Georgetown 41-2 last Saturday at RFK Stadium, the former home of the Washington Redskins. The game featured the longest punt return for a touchdown in Harvard history as Justice Shelton-Mosley raced 91 yards to score less than three minutes into the contest.
Georgetown had just 201 total yards, and Harvard recovered three fumbles and had one interception. So far this season, Hutton leads the Crimson with 17 tackles and has broken up one pass.
“We knew coming in they had a good passing attack,” Hutton said. “Our defensive backs did an incredible job. Our defensive line is doing a fantastic job the past two weeks. And finally, zero points given up by the defense. We are not where we want to be. There is room for improvement.”
Last season, Hutton was named second-team All-Ivy League after recording 56 tackles in 10 games. He had a team-high seven stops against against Rhode Island in 2016.
“As a kid growing up in Austin, I had a dream to play college sports,” Hutton said. “I grew up in Austin loving the Longhorns. It became obvious the Ivy League was where I would end up. In my humble opinion, I thought of no other place that had a better name (than Harvard) and where I could get a great education.”
Hutton said he’s on track to graduate in the spring with a degree in economics. He originally thought about jumping into the business world, perhaps on Wall Street, and working a regular 9-to-5 job, but those thoughts have changed.
“I can’t sit behind a desk for eight hours,” he said. “Now I am thinking about coaching.”
Hutton said he’s interested in being a graduate assistant with a college team next year, but first he hopes to win an Ivy League title for Harvard and for Abercrombie, who recently regained some feeling in his arms and legs, ESPN reported.
“He is such an incredible kid, especially a hard worker.” Hutton said of his injured teammate. “I know he is going to fight. We have to fight for him. Everyone wants to put a ring on his finger.”
THE LUKE HUTTON FILE
College team: Harvard
Height and weight: 6 feet, 2 inches; 215 pounds
High school: Lake Travis
Did you know? Has an uncle, Kelly Gruber, who was a two-time All-Star while playing baseball for the Toronto Blue Jays from 1984-92. … Hutton made four tackles as Harvard defeated Georgetown 41-2 Saturday in a game played at RFK Stadium, the former home of the Washington Redskins. Hutton and his high school teammates played at AT&T Stadium — the home of the Dallas Cowboys — when Lake Travis defeated Waco Midway 22-7 to win the UIL Class 4A, Division I state championship in 2011. … Claude King, Hutton’s grandfather, played football at the University of Houston and as a running back with the Oilers in the NFL.