The Brockermeyer family’s college football legacy grows at Texas and Alabama

Luke Brockermeyer‘s odyssey to becoming Texas‘ starting middle linebacker — one soaked in sweat, perseverance and family history — will come full circle Saturday in the Red River Showdown.

It’s a day that has been nothing short of a holiday in Brockermeyer’s family for as long as he can remember

“No matter what, we never missed this game,” said Brockermeyer, a third-generation Longhorn who loved Texas so much that he passed up scholarship offers from Air Force, Rice and Oregon State to be a preferred walk-on at the alma mater of his dad, mom and granddad.

His dad, Blake, was an All-American offensive tackle at Texas in 1994 and later played nine seasons in the NFL. His mom, Kristy, also earned her degree from Texas, and his grandfather, Kae, played for Darrell Royal on Texas’ 1959 team.

“It’s the old clich√©. We’re a Texas football family. It’s meant everything to us,” Luke said.

But there’s a bit of a twist this year.

Luke’s parents will make an entire day of it Saturday, their own little odyssey, with the Lone Star State doubleheader. After taking in the Oklahoma-Texas game at noon ET, they will hop into a luxury van waiting for them just outside the Cotton Bowl and dash to College Station with several friends for the AlabamaTexas A&M game at 8 p.m. ET.

The youngest of the four Brockermeyer siblings, twins Tommy and James, are freshman offensive linemen at Alabama, although they’re expected to redshirt this season and won’t make the trip. The Brockermeyers’ oldest son, Jack, graduated from Rice last year and is getting married in May.

Luke didn’t find out his parents were going to pull off the double until they told him last weekend after the TCU game. His first response: “Are you sure you want to do that?”

But after thinking about it, he wasn’t surprised.

“We’re a tight-knit family and always have been,” Luke said. “I wouldn’t be where I am now without the support I’ve received from my family. We’ve been playing tackle football since the third grade. I got to play with Jack in high school when I was a freshman and sophomore, and Tommy and James got to play with me my senior year. Those are moments that will last the rest of our lives.”

Blake, who coached all four of his boys since they were little, is looking forward to even more of those moments, although he admits there will be some mixed emotions next season when Alabama is scheduled to visit Texas on Sept. 10 in Austin.

“I never dreamed that something like this would happen,” Blake said. “But as long as Luke is playing for Texas, we will always be cheering for the Longhorns.”

The reality is that Luke was an afterthought in the previous Texas regime’s defensive plans. He was awarded a scholarship during the 2019 season but was used primarily on special teams and recorded two career tackles his first three years on campus.

“It’s been a crazy ride. I was playing scout team tight end last year, and now I’m a starting linebacker,” said Luke, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound redshirt junior. “But from the time I got here, I was focused on helping the team any way I could. Now that my role has grown, it makes it that much more special.”

Blake said the coaching change from Tom Herman to Steve Sarkisian gave Luke the opening he needed to finally get on the field and prove that he could be an every-down player.

“Just getting a new staff in with a different set of eyes was huge for Luke,” Blake said. “A lot of new coaches come in and say it’s going to be a blank slate, but 99% of the time it’s not. I give Coach Sark and Coach [Jeff] Choate, Luke’s position coach, a lot of credit. He got a legitimate chance in the spring and made the most of it.”

In his first career start in the season-opening win over Louisiana, Luke recorded more tackles (10) than games he’d played in (seven) to that point.

“The thing I’m most proud of is that it never even crossed his mind that he would not stick it out,” Blake said. “He kept the faith and never gave up, which in the age of the transfer portal of wanting to quit and leave is rare.”

That dogged persistence paid off for Luke, who enters the Red River Showdown as Texas’ second-leading tackler with 33 total stops and tied for the team lead with three tackles for loss.

“The grass is always greener where you water it,” Luke said. “It’s not always greener on the other side.”

Blake acknowledged that watching the Alabama-Texas A&M game in the nightcap will be more fun because it won’t be as never-racking.

“It’s definitely different when your kids are out there playing,” he said. “There’s no hiding. He misses a tackle, and everyone says your kid sucks. And then he does something good, and everyone says, ‘Why was this kid not playing before?’ Welcome to the world of being a college football player, especially now.”

Luke and Kristy’s day will start at 7:45 a.m. Saturday when a driver picks them up at their Fort Worth home. They will catch up with friends in Dallas for a party (mariachi band and all) before heading across town to the Cotton Bowl and then trek to “enemy territory” in College Station. Blake figures they will roll back in the next morning around 3 a.m.

“We’ll come back and recover for three days, but it will be worth it — a 2-0 Saturday,” Blake said confidently. “I hate A&M. I hate them worse than OU.”

He then said jokingly: “That was my selling point to James and Tommy. Go somewhere you can beat A&M every year.”

Of course, that was before Oklahoma and Texas announced plans to join the SEC. Plus, Blake was committed to letting his two youngest boys make their own decisions. And, yes, as a Texas Longhorn Hall of Honor member, Blake and his wife both caught some heat for Tommy and James not signing with the Longhorns.

But in the octagon that is big-time college football recruiting, that’s going to happen.

“For sure, it wasn’t fun,” Blake said. “We both would have loved for them to be closer to home. But at the end of the day, the kids have to be the ones making the decisions on where they want to go because they’re the ones getting up at 5 a.m. to work out, going to practice every day and watching all that film. It’s a grind.

“So if you’re making your kids go somewhere they don’t want to go, that’s when the transfer portal comes into play.”

Luke and his younger brothers text just about every day, and he was also a resource for his brothers when they went through the recruiting process, as the recruitment of all three was different.

Tommy was ESPN’s No. 1 offensive tackle prospect in the country last year. James, not as big as Tommy, was a four-star prospect at center, but he didn’t have everybody in the country chasing him the way schools pursued his twin brother.

Blake said the twins were able to put all the recruiting hoopla in perspective after seeing how little interest Luke received coming out of high school and never allowing that to deter him.

“With Luke, there were a lot of ‘nos’ and ‘not interested,'” Blake recounted. “It’s a tough, cold world out there when you get to that level. And then having your twin sons recruited was weird, especially when one of them is highly recruited (Tommy) and the other is recruited, but not as hard. You want them to go to the same school, but some schools want them both and some schools don’t.”

For example, Blake said Oklahoma offered Tommy before Texas did, and early in the process (before Sarkisian arrived), he said the Longhorns told James that they were recruiting him, but more as a walk-on. Iowa was quick to offer James, and Blake said Clemson wanted Tommy, but not James.

“It was back and forth and not a lot of fun when a school wants one kid but not the other one,” said Blake, adding that it ultimately came down to Alabama and Texas.

Once Alabama went all-in on both Tommy and James, they couldn’t say no to Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide. Luke concedes that he heard some “noise” on social media when his brothers picked Alabama.

“But that’s social media,” Luke said. “People are going to love you some days and hate you the others.”

He was just glad that his brothers were able to stay together.

“I told them to trust that they were making the right decision for themselves and that we were going to be supportive of them,” Luke said.

Down the road, though, family history could take a backseat if Luke were to meet one of his twin brothers on the field, either next season in Austin or even the 2023 season when Texas is scheduled to travel to Alabama.

Luke, who is scheduled to graduate in May, has two more years of eligibility remaining. He definitely plans on returning next season but doesn’t want to get too far ahead of himself when it comes to any potential Brockermeyer vs. Brockermeyer matchups.

Not with what he calls the “best rivalry in college football” looming.

“It’s taken me a while to get to this moment, so I’m trying my best to stay in the moment,” Luke said.

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