North Allegheny senior lineman Lugg forges his own path

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Sunday, July 14, 2019 | 5:09 PM


North Allegheny’s Jake Lugg plays left tackle for the Tigers like older brother, Josh, did a few years earlier.

With two Division I linemen in the same family, it’s inevitable they’re compared often — maybe too often.

“I love being compared to him sometimes,” Lugg said, “and sometimes I feel like I just want to be my own football player and make my own path for myself.”

The 6-foot-4, 287-pound senior already has started building his own reputation. The Ivy League commit will anchor the North Allegheny offensive line this season and also shoulder more snaps at defensive end.

In WPIAL Class 6A, where there’s an abundance of standout linemen, Lugg’s size and leadership bolster NA’s chances for success.

“Being a senior, I’ve taken more of a leadership role than I have in previous years,” Lugg said, “just trying to push my teammates every day.

“After the disappointing end to our season last year, the team as a whole has been pushing each other more and more,” he said. “We’re all rallying together to make sure what happened doesn’t happen again.”

North Allegheny entered the WPIAL playoffs undefeated as the No. 1 seed last season but was upset in the semifinals. The Tigers rushed for more than 2,800 yards and 44 touchdowns behind a strong run-blocking line that returns two starters.

Lugg has added some weight and grown about an inch since last season. He also has focused on his technique and improving his footwork.

He committed June 28 to Harvard, where he’ll play guard or center. He held more than a dozen Division I offers including Nebraska but ultimately preferred the Ivy League education.

“Academically, I don’t think any school in the world can beat it,” Lugg said. “I visited there twice and loved the coaching staff, the campus, the tradition there. The football program is very historic. It was just love at first sight.”

Josh Lugg is entering his junior season at Notre Dame. He might not always want the comparisons, but Jake Lugg likes learning all he can from his older brother.

“He gives me a bunch of little tips and tricks that help improve my game,” Lugg said. “In pass protection, he told me to engage my lats more. When I started doing that, I got more power in my punch. So that was very helpful.”

The brothers are different people, he said, but also very similar football players in many ways.

“Pretty much every time he comes home from Notre Dame, we’re always working out together,” Lugg said. “We’re doing technique drills together and helping each other get better.”

Lugg file

School: North Allegheny

Class: Senior

Ht/wt: 6-4/287

Positions: OT/DE

Stars: Three

Committed to: Harvard

Division I offers: Air Force, Akron, Bowling Green, Brown, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Colorado State, Cornell, Dartmouth, Nebraska, Richmond, Yale, Youngstown State

Trib HSSN Preseason All-Stars

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Fintan Brose, Hempfield

Tui Brown, Gateway

Michael Carmody, Mars

Josh Casilli, Peters Township

Johnny Crise, Highlands

Derrick Davis, Gateway

Daniel Deabner, Thomas Jefferson

Deamontae Diggs, McKeesport

Dorien Ford, Baldwin

Aaron Gunn, Union

Dayon Hayes, Westinghouse

Nahki Johnson, West Mifflin

Josh Kaltenberger, Seneca Valley

Caleb Lisbon, Penn-Trafford

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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