Hunter Luepke, FB
School: North Dakota State University | Conference: FCS Missouri Valley Conference
College Experience: R-Senior | Age: 23
Height / Weight: 6’1” / 230 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 5th to 7th Round
Player Comparison: Kyle Juszczyk
Luepke was a three-sport athlete in high school, winning two Wisconsin state titles in wrestling in addition to being a three-time all-conference centerfielder in baseball and a three-time all-conference running back. He also played linebacker, defensive end and returned kicks. He was a two-star fullback recruit to North Dakota State, where he redshirted his freshman year before becoming a four-year starter. He also aligned at tight end and was a core special teamer.
Following the 2019 season, in which he saw limited action, Luepke became the Bison’s leading ball carrier for his remaining three seasons in Fargo. From 2020 through 2022, Luepke rushed for 1,620 yards and 23 TDs on 269 attempts (6.0 yds/att., 1 TD per 12 att.) and had 27 receptions for 398 yards and 8 TDs (14.7 yds/rec, 1 TD per 3.4 rec.). In 2022, Luepke recorded 815 total yards from scrimmage and 13 TDs, averaging 6.3 yards per carry rushing, with a long run of 47 yards, and 14.0 yards per reception, with a long of 31. He rushed for 3 TDs in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Game and was named the MVP of the game.
- Exceptional athleticism for his size - 4.61 sec 40, 1.5 sec 10 yd split, 36.5” vertical and 7.03 sec 3-cone drill, 9.54 RAS, #55 on Bruce Feldman’s 2022 Freaks List
- Uses good vision and elite-level explosiveness to pop through holes as a rusher
- Impressive toughness with power to knock over defenders and break tackles, good balance to gain yards after contact
- Excels as a run blocker, with strength to open lanes and seal gaps for ball carriers from backfield or H-back alignments
- Good anchor against blitzers and edge rushers in pass protection
- Excellent ball skills as a receiver
- Creates separation and coverage mismatches on releases from play action to gain chunk yardage and scores in the red zone
- Experience in all four phases on special teams
*“Weakness” is not the right word for a fullback. Consider these more as limitations:
- Ahead of the curve in offensive game planning, will require an innovative offensive coordinator to maximize his potential
- Not elusive, runs over defenders instead of around them
- Can be caught from behind by pursuit defenders
Let’s see his work
Channeling Jim Brown:
lol Hunter Luepke had a wide open path to the end zone and decided "nah, i wanna hit this guy instead" pic.twitter.com/dhX2kAXzvl— Christian D'Andrea (@TrainIsland) January 8, 2022
Short highlight clip:
Hunter Luepke is quite literally a different breed pic.twitter.com/IVu4HmmnYW— David Miller (@millerfootball_) April 8, 2023
Not enough? Enjoy five and a half minutes of pure fullback indulgence:
Hunter Luepke is a FB prospect in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 9.54 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 24 out of 497 FB from 1987 to 2023. https://t.co/zE3M8xt8bq #RAS pic.twitter.com/WwRdILI0vS— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 8, 2023
How he fits on the Commanders
Following its decline and near extinction in the first two decades of this century, the fullback has made a comeback and is now used by close to half of all NFL franchises. The Kansas City Chiefs, where incoming Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy spent the past five years, were one of the few teams that has stuck with the fullback through thick and thin. However, that may reflect Head Coach Andy Reid’s longstanding commitment to the position. It is unclear at this point what parts of the Kansas City offense Bieniemy will bring to Washington and what he will do differently.
Luepke is a different type of fullback to those that Bieniemy had available with the Chiefs. His exceptional athleticism and power fits the modern prototype for the position, as a complementary weapon in the passing game, in the mold of the 49ers’ Kyle Juszczyk.
As an extra blocker in the backfield, he can help protect Sam Howell from pass rushers and keep running lanes clear for Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson. As a receiver, Luepke’s combination of size and athleticism creates the potential to exploit mismatches in coverage for big plays. He offers greater upside rushing between the tackles than the usual short yardage specialist, as he is able to generate yards after contact by breaking tackles and running over defenders.
At the very least, he provides a better option than Curtis Samuel in third-and-short situations. He also fits the athletic profile of a core special teamer, and has experience in all four phases.
Acknowldgement: Edited by James Dorsett, also thanks to Bill in Bangkok for technical assistance with tweet wrangling.
When should the Commanders draft Hunter Luepke?
This poll is closed
Why isn’t there an option to not draft Hunter Luepke?