My freshman year of high school [St. Xavier, Cincinnati], I got hurt. In my sophomore year I played on the offensive side of the ball, which wasn’t where I wanted to be. Before my junior year, I got hooked up with a nutritionist, who pointed me in the right direction and showed me what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat. I put some weight on, and the hard work paid off. I finally got to play linebacker—the position I had always wanted to play.
I realized that in-game hydration matters, too. During my junior season, we played a nationally televised game against DeMatha of Hyattsville, Md., which was ranked No. 5 in the nation at the time. A bunch of our better players, myself included, caught cramps. When you’re cramping, you can’t play, and when you can’t play, it affects your whole team.
How he stays hydrated as a pro
I’m constantly drinking throughout practice and taking in fluids. Our trainers do a great job of always having the stuff ready to go for us. After practice, I pour a couple of Gatorlyte packets—a concentrated source of electrolytes—into a Gatorade and put it away as quick as I can. That way I’m geting everything back in my body immediately.
His favorite snack
Almonds, walnuts or a bagel with peanut butter. Pretzels are great, too.
What he eats the night before a game
On Saturdays, I try and stay away from fried foods and anything that is super-processed that will sit in my stomach and be really heavy. I like to pair a lean, grilled protein source with mashed potatoes.
What he eats after the game
After a game, I’m tired and just want to relax. I usually eat whatever is in front of me. But I do immediately take in a protein shake. Then I’ll work in some fluids.
His favorite Gatorade flavor
I’m definitely a lemon-lime guy. And anything blue—Fierce Grape or Glacier Freeze.
Luke’s Big Breakfast
The Panthers’ middle linebacker begins each day with a beastly morning meal.
Egg whites with just a little of the yolks
Oatmeal with honey and fruit (strawberries, blueberries or banana)
Toast with peanut butter
Glass of milk, water or orange juice