In life, and in football, things don’t always go the way you planned. For Jaguars rookie quarterback Jake Luton, after being selected in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft, he’s relishing his opportunity, no matter the circumstances surrounding his temporary - for now -, promotion.
On Monday, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone informed the media, fans and NFL universe, that starting quarterback Gardner Minshew II would be deemed inactive on Sunday against the Houston Texans due to an injury. In his place will be Luton, a rookie out of Oregon State, a Pac-12 quarterback, starting for an injured Jaguars starting quarterback, who would have thought?
“We’ve talked about it a little bit,” Luton said when asked about the parallels between himself and Minshew. “We’ve had a couple conversations. I remember one we had at the hotel over dinner, kind of just talking about our paths and the journeys we’ve taken and it’s really cool. I remember a couple years ago facing off against him and watching him for Washington State and how much success he had. It’s a small world.”
The two quarterbacks have pushed each other throughout training camp and over the course of the season. “He has a lot of knowledge to bring to the table.”
Luton’s opportunity will come on Sunday against the Texans who have had plenty of success against the Jaguars in the past, including this year when the Jaguars fell 30-14 in Week 5 of the regular season.
“It’s something that I’ve always dreamed of since I was a little kid and something I’ve always really strived for,” Luton told reporters on Wednesday when asked about the opportunity he’s about to receive on Sunday,
“[I] battled through some things and I’ve had my journey just like everyone else has, so it’s something I take pride in, the journey that I’ve had and the road it took to get here. Like I said, I’m just excited. I’m proud to be here and ready to get out there and play for the Jags.
Luton’s journey hasn’t always been easy. In 2017, Luton suffered a Thoracic Spine Fracture, unable to move his arms or legs for a time while lying on the gridiron in a game against Washington State University. He would later go on to play midway through the 2018 season, while starting all 11 games in 2019 for the Beavers.
While being a starting quarterback in the NFL comes with a lot of inherent pressure, Luton is “even keeled” about the ordeal, stating that as a quarterback, it simply comes with the territory.
“It’s what I pride myself in is just being composed at all times,” he said. “I think that’s something the team really looks to and guys really respect. I just try to approach it day in and day out as a first-year guy coming in and preparing like I’m going to play and whether I am or not, I’m going to prepare that way so when my time comes, I’ll be ready.”
Ultimately sitting at 1-6, the Jaguars will be looking for a spark, any spark to bring the team a victory. Luton, will be experiencing something he’s dreamed off, there are no parallels, he says.
“As a kid, I wanted to do this my whole life. I dreamed of playing in the NFL and getting that opportunity to step out there will definitely be a dream come true. I don’t know that I could really compare it to anything I’ve experience this far.”