Lujan signs with D1 South Dakota St. after one year of JUCO

April 18, 2014

Zachary Lujan FootballWhen freshman quarterback Zach Lujan of Anchorage arrived at Chabot College in California he was fourth on the depth chart. After summer workouts he was second. After the first scrimmage he was first.

He never lost his job.

“I still remember my first conversation with my coach on game day before our first game and he had a conversation with the backups as well as me, and he basically said, ‘You guys need to be ready because we don’t know how Zach is going to perform,’” Lujan told me.

“Afterwards, I pulled him aside and said, ‘Thanks coach I appreciate your concern but you have nothing to worry about.’”

Lujan, 19, has never lacked confidence. He has pledged to be great, and continues to back it up on the field, determined to take his football career as far as possible.

Now he’s headed to South Dakota State after just one season of JC ball.

Lujan, of South High fame, has signed with the Jackrabbits of the NCAA Division I FCS level, formerly known as Division I-AA. He is one of 22 Chabot College players to advance to the D1 level, but the only freshman.

“Speaking with my coaching at South Dakota State, they view me as being ready to play right now verses me needing another year to develop,” he said.

At Chabot College, Lujan accounted 2,050 total yards – 1,820 through the air and 230 on the ground – and 18 touchdowns [15 passing, 3 running]. He completed 59 percent of his passes.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder was named Golden Gate Conference Offensive Player of the Year and first-team all-league quarterback. He was one of only four freshman named to the all-conference team.

He led Chabot to an 8-3 record and a victory in a bowl game.

“Winning is everything,” Lujan said. “I don’t just say it, I preach it. Nobody wants someone from a losing team, but everyone wants someone from a winning team.”

Lujan is one of the few quarterbacks to come out of Alaska and play college football, much less the FCS level. This on that stage was always the plan He doesn’t sit around thinking, why me?

“Why not me,” Lujan said. “I always felt Alaska as a whole is very under recruited, so lots of guys go D3 route or NAIA route. I’ve seen comparable talent from the Lower 48 go D1 or D2. I wasn’t happy with offers out of high school, so I went the JUCO route. I loved it.”

He played himself into a starting job at Chabot College and then earned himself an opportunity at South Dakota State.

“I love what they are doing with their program,” Lujan said. “I’m going to there and compete for a national championship, be a three-year starter and pre-law; I want to go to law school. Not a lot else I could ask for.”