During the 2011 recruiting cycle, college coaches flocked to Hamilton High School in Chandler, Ariz., to see five-star tackle prospect Christian Westerman. If those coaches didn't notice a lanky sophomore by the name of Cole Luke, they likely do now and have been back to the school to recruit him.
One of the top cornerbacks in the Southwest, the 6'0, 170-pound four-star prospect made an unofficial visit to Notre Dame this week and then revealed a list of the five schools currently standing out for him ($) -- Notre Dame, Texas, Michigan, Nebraska and Cal.
Luke indicated in the interview with 247Sports that he's also interested in USC and Oregon, two schools that have not yet offered to the playmaking defensive back. Also notable is that Oklahoma was not mentioned among those standing out, but has recruited Luke hard and made him a priority in the class. Luke had included the Sooners and the Arkansas Razorbacks on a recent list he revealed on Memorial Day ($).
Traveling for unofficial visits is an issue for Luke, so he plans to take his official visits in the fall, which could end up being his only look at programs like Nebraska, Michigan and Cal. Luke visited Austin for the Texas spring game and made the aforementioned recent trip to South Bend.
The fact that the 'Horns are still in contention with Luke despite waiting a month to offer him following his visit is probably a good sign, along with the fact that an official visit would mark a return visit, not the case for Nebraska, Michigan, or Cal.
As far as numbers, it appears that there is still room for Luke, as evidenced by the consideration being given to offering New Orleans (LA) Edna Karr cornerback Noel Ellis, who attended the Sunday mini-camp last weekend.
Here's a brief scouting report on Luke:
In pads, Luke has the leaping ability and ball skills to translate his awareness and instincts into interceptions. He high-points the football like someone who has played receiver before. Like fellow Texas target Vonn Bell, the Goergia safety, Luke can turn those interceptions and other turnovers into touchdowns with some dynamic ability with the ball in his hands.
Fluid, with ideal reactive quickness and body control, Luke basically has all the attributes of one of the top cornerbacks in the country, including the willingness to defend the running game with physicality belied by his 165 pounds -- like a taller Carrington Byndom.
He has better size than Bastrop's Antwuan Davis, even though his top-end speed may not be better than the Austin-area track star, and he's faster and a better pure cornerback prospect than Sugarland Dulles' Maurice Smith, though Smith's resume of national interest and offers is rapidly approaching that of Luke.
While Smith has not surpassed Luke in terms of national appeal, Luke is still a strong prospect in his own right -- he's ranked as the seventh-best cornerback in the country by 247Sports.