Since being established in 1964, Lutheran High School North, located at 5401 Lucas and Hunt Road in St. Louis, MO, has had nine graduates reach the NFL. Most notably was Steve Atwater, former two-time Super Bowl Champion and eight-time Pro Bowler. But Lutheran North has not had a former graduate reach the NFL since 2005, when Robert Douglas (LN class of ’00), who attended the University of Memphis, was signed as an undrafted free agent and most recently played with the New York Giants in 2007, winning Super Bowl XLII with the team. Although Lutheran North has not produced an NFL player in a decade and a half and has had just two NFL players since 1991, all signs point to that changing in the very near future.
Over the past five years, the Lutheran North Crusaders football program has graduated several players that have gone on to play football at the Division I level. One that is shining on the national level right now is LN class of 2014 defensive lineman Renell Wren. Wren was an All-State selection his senior year at North and was rated as the top defensive lineman in the state of Missouri. He helped Lutheran North to a state semifinal appearance in 2013.
He is currently a redshirt senior with the Arizona State Sun Devils and was named a captain of the team by new and widely renowned head coach Herman Edwards. Wren has five total tackles on the year through two games, with three of them being solo and one tackle for loss. Arizona State just knocked off the #15 Michigan State Spartans on Saturday. Wren is a physical behemoth and was listed on an NFL.com writer’s list of college football’s most freakish athletes. Wren could potentially find himself on an NFL squad a year from now with a big senior year at ASU.
Another incredibly talented player and former LN graduate is making his mark early in his college career. Ronnie Perkins, who was a class of 2018 graduate from North, is already doing big things for the Oklahoma Sooners. Perkins was an Army All-American at defensive end during his senior year at North and was rated the number nine defensive end in the country by ESPN. He too helped North to a state semifinal appearance just last year in 2017.
Perkins has seen significant playing time already in #6 Oklahoma’s first two games, racking up six tackles, five of them being solo, two tackles for loss, and he racked up his first collegiate sack against the UCLA Bruins last Saturday. Perkins is making his name known as a freshman, and while it would be difficult to predict his NFL future at this moment, his ceiling is sky high and he can become a force on the Oklahoma defense for the next few years to come.
True freshman Ronnie Perkins picks up a sack. #Sooners https://t.co/Pj4iuV7KY8
Lutheran North has another former graduate who is currently a captain of a Division I football team. Carl Thomas (LN c/o ’15) was named captain at the beginning of the season of the Georgetown Hoyas. Thomas was captain of the Crusader football team in both his junior and senior year under head coach Brian Simmons. Thomas rushed for over 2,500 yards and had over 1,000 receiving yards in his time at Lutheran North.
Aqeel Glass (LN c/o ‘17) is another recent Lutheran North graduate who is doing big things early on in his college football career. Glass plays for the Division I FCS Alabama A&M Bulldogs. He won the starting quarterback spot in his freshman season in 2017, where he tossed for nearly 1,200 yards and five touchdowns in nine games. Glass is once again the starter this year as a sophomore and has thrown for 401 yards and four touchdowns in two games. Glass has an ideal build of a pocket passer at 6’5” 215 lbs. and has incredibly impressive arm strength. If Glass has a successful four years at Alabama A&M, he could possibly find his way onto an NFL roster in a few years.
These four former graduates are just cracking the surface for successful college football players to come out of Lutheran North. RB Donovan Marshall (c/o ’18) currently plays for the D1 program Arkansas State Red Wolves. DB Jordan Sommerville (c/o ’17) and RB Canaan Brooks (c/o ’18) both currently play for the South Dakota Coyotes, a D1 FCS program. WR Cameron Clemons ( c/o ’16) currently plays for the D1 FCS Western Illinois Leathernecks.
On the team right now, Lutheran North has three players in the class of 2019 currently committed to Division I schools. OL Jack Buford, a four-star recruit, is committed to the Missouri Tigers. He has widely been regarded as the biggest recruit landing in the Barry Odom era at Mizzou. DE D’Vion Harris is a three-star recruit and is currently committed to the Minnesota Golden Gophers of the Big Ten. Finally, LB Isaiah Azubuike, who started receiving D1 offers his freshman year, is committed to the Arkansas State Red Wolves.
Apart from just the class of 2019, Lutheran North has another high-profile recruit on the rise. Class of 2020 DT Kevon Billingsley is a force up the middle, and the four-star recruit has racked up offers from SEC programs Alabama, Georgia, and Florida among many others. When his high school career is over, Billingsley will likely be able to attend any college of his choosing considering the amount of offers he has already been receiving from big time programs.
Despite being a small Class 2 school, Lutheran North under head coach Carl Reed has established a reputation of getting players to the next level, especially to Division I. Apart from just getting to the next level of Division I, Lutheran North could see some of its former graduates reach the highest level of them all, the NFL, in just the next few years and over the next decade. They are churning out intelligent young men with superior football talent and it could result in multiple alumni making it big time.