Florham Park, NJ— The Jets are going to be a solid team in 2018, with two weaknesses; offensive line, and pass rusher. This has opened the door to the lower part of the depth chart to get reps, and make their name known. A player who has taken advantage of his time on the field and impressed is rookie undrafted free agent linebacker Frankie Luvu.
Luvu played at Washington State after coming over from American Samoa at 17. His high school team in Samoa had never lost a game. According to Luvu, “I left the islands for the first time at 17. I got my scholarship, went to Washington and adjusted real quick.” Which he did. He played in his first three games as a freshman, during which he turned 18-years-old. In his senior season he recorded 6.5 sacks and 12 tackles for a loss. The transition to the NFL has been a little more difficult.
“The thing for me is picking up the little things, the details, the pace of the NFL,” Luvu said. “You mess up in college they teach you, but here, you’re expected to know everything, and if you mess up they are not waiting for you.”
Despite his difficulties, Luvu has impressed and even got some reps with the first-team during the team’s trip to Virginia for joint camp with Washington. During the preseason game against Washington, he was on the second-team. His first play on the field, he got through the line unscathed and cleaned Colt McCoy’s clock. Luvu, being someone who likes to hit a player as hard as possible, unfortunately lead with his helmet into McCoy’s shoulder, a direct violation of the new helmet rules.
“I could’ve been smarter but everything happened so fast” said Luvu. Luvu got fined for the hit, and will start the NFL season in the red.
Luvu got two tackles against Washington, and last week against the Giants he got a tackle and a sack. He will continue to look for opportunities in the nearly nameless group of Josh Martin, Jordan Jenkins, Lorenzo Mauldin, Brandon Copeland, David Bass, Dylan Donahue, and Obum Gwacham. Running with the first-team means management likes what they’ve seen from the 21-year-old, and besides Brandon Copeland, none of this group has done much to impress this training camp. Jordan Jenkins and Josh Martin are the only names that are surefire roster spots. There’s a roster spot available for Luvu to grab.
Even if Luvu doesn’t make the roster on September 1, he has just about locked up his spot on the practice squad. Given his age, he has plenty of room to grow.
While the Jets beat writers have been buzzing about him since the start of camp, Luvu had no idea about any of that. He does not like social media, preferring instead to “focus on what’s in front of him”.
“I’m just a kid from the island.” Luvu said. “Every kid from Samoa dreams of this, and if I can do it, anyone from the island and around the world can do it.”
Inspirational stuff from the undersized, undrafted, foreign 21-year-old trying to make his name in the toughest game and the toughest city on the planet. Believe in Luvu.