Former Logan High QB Luke Falk enjoys record-setting return to Utah

Luke Falk in 2013 while playing basketball at Logan High.

It was a Logan High reunion at Rice-Eccles Stadium Saturday night.

Luke Falk was playing quarterback in Utah for the first time since he was under center for his hometown Grizzlies. His high school coach was in the stands, along with former classmates, family members and friends.

“My dad was on the sideline,” Falk said. “It kind of reminded me of a high school game.”

Falk said he felt more butterflies before Saturday night’s game than he had in any other. He guessed there was a crowd of at least 60 just to see him, but later admitted that estimate was probably low.

“This one really means a lot to me,” he said. “I’m not going to lie about that. It really does.”

The game went well for Falk, who threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns in the 33-25 win over the Utes. Falk tied the Pac-12 career touchdown passing record with his first touchdown of the night, then broke the record with his second and third. He now has 118 total.

Washington State head coach Mike Leach said the record is significant.

“He’s the all-time leading passer in the greatest passing league in the history of college football,” Leach said, “and also leads in touchdowns.”

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Falk could have mentioned others who were inside the stadium Saturday night. They were guys who also knew him as a high schooler – guys who, not long ago, didn’t think he had what it took to be Division I quarterback.

To Falk’s credit, he didn’t mention them.

While still at Logan, Falk had practiced in front of multiple instate Division I coaches, but never got an offer to join a team. He ended up walking on at Washington State.

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“I was a big Utah State fan, playing high school ball in Logan I always thought I’d play there,” Falk said, “but when the Utes were in the Pac 12 I definitely wanted to take my shot at playing for them. It didn’t work out. Now I’m here and I’m glad that Washington State gave me an opportunity. I’m having too much fun.”

It was a quick rise to stardom in Leach’s pass-heavy offense. Falk got his first opportunity to start as a redshirt freshman, after starting quarterback Connor Halliday was injured. He gained national recognition after throwing for 471 yards and five touchdowns in his first full game. In Falk’s four years he has thrown for more than 14,000 yards.

Former Logan High head coach Mike Favero said he is thrilled his former player is seeing so much success, especially after not getting much recognition coming out of high school. Favero said that recruiting isn’t a science, and there were some things that held Falk back from getting an Division I offer. A major hurdle was that Falk moved to California and back, which affected one year of his high school eligibility.

“His circumstances were rare and unique,” Favero said. “After his sophomore year he was a highly-regarded guy. Based upon his circumstances he kind of went off the radar, and then if you don’t play a junior year there is not a ton of film.”

Even so, Favero said he was baffled. He said Falk was a “tremendous” high school quarterback.

“It was frustrating for me because I had so many people tell me they didn’t think he was good enough,” he said. “Hearing that over and over and over, at some point I was like, ‘What am I missing here?’ Because I’ve got all of these so-called experts who do it for a living tell me the kid is not good enough.

“He was 6-4. It’s not like we were saying, ‘Hey, take a shot on a 5-11 QB that might not turn into something special.’ I mean he has the height, the accuracy the arm and the IQ and all the intangibles to be successful.”

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Favero has since enjoyed traveling to watch Falk play, but Friday night’s was the first where he didn’t have to leave the state.

“I was so excited for him I can’t even remember what our discussion was,” Favero said, “but I had a chance to talk to him at length after the game and there was a lot of people from Cache Valley down there. I think it was a special moment for all who had a chance to watch him and be a part of his life, starting with his own family.”

For Favero, Falk’s passion and perseverance were early indicators that he could be something special. He recalled Falk’s love for studying all aspects of the quarterback position, from play calling to clock management to reading defenses.

“His work ethic was legendary and still is to this day,” Favero said. “Combined with a really good arm and his football IQ, that drive has allowed him to become great.”

Favero isn’t putting a limit on how far Falk can go. He said the NFL has always been Falk’s dream.

“He is certainly in a position to have that opportunity,” Favero said. “The NFL will have a brand new set of challenges for anybody who is talking about becoming the best of the best. I think he’ll do well.”

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