Norwin’s Luke Denny commits to Division I Lehigh for football

Saturday, January 27, 2024 | 3:47 PM

When his first football scholarship offer came in, Luke Denny was overcome with emotion.

“I called my grandparents crying,” the Norwin senior said. “It was like, this is really happening.”

But that offer came during the regular season — Week 4 vs. Woodland Hills — and it was from Division II Lock Haven.

Denny collected himself before instantly and haphazardly accepting the offer, confident in the belief more schools would come calling.

Sure enough, they did.

“At the beginning of the season, it you’d have told me I’d be committing to a Division I college,” he said, “I would have said you’re crazy.”

More schools offered and reached out to the big-play wide receiver and safety, but one stood out above the rest.

Division I Lehigh offered to pay for his full tuition and offered Denny a spot on the team, a deal that was too good to pass up.

The potential diamond-in-the-rough prospect made a verbal commitment to the Red Hawks and will sign a letter of intent Feb. 7.

It was his highlight video — his brow-raising highlight video — that caught Lehigh’s eye.

“They saw my film and contacted me through (X),” Denny said. “Suddenly I was thinking about being a D-I football player. I didn’t think I had it in me. I’m like, this is the real deal.”

Other FCS programs in Duquesne, St. Francis (Pa.) and Robert Morris also showed interest in Denny, who was recruited to play safety at Lehigh.

West Virginia and Akron offered him a spot as a preferred walk-on.

D-II programs Clarion, IUP, West Liberty, Slippery Rock, and Mercyhurst also offered.

Denny, a Pennsylvania Football News all-state first-teamer, caught 44 receptions for a school-record 1,046 yards and 11 touchdowns for Norwin, which featured budding sophomore quarterback Tristyn Tavares and senior wideout Jackson Pons, who enrolled early at Miami of Ohio.

On defense, Denny had 60 tackles, seven for loss, and an interception.

Schools liked his 4.45-second time in the 40-yard dash.

“They like my speed and the fact I’m a three-sport athlete,” Denny said. “They like my pursuit to the ball and how I get downhill.”

Several coaches from Lehigh visited Norwin recently to watch Denny play basketball, including head coach Kevin Cahill.

Denny is quick to admit earning a Division I scholarship was a group effort.

“My parents have been my rock,” Denny said. “Our new (coaching) staff (at Norwin) has been nothing less than awesome. And Jackson Pons has played a big role for me. We’re like brothers.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at


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