2014 LB carrying on the family business

2014 LB carrying on the family business

Coming from a family of all-Americans and all-time greats, Luke Arbanas is establishing himself as the next in a long line of great defensive players for Rockhurst High School. Go Inside with one of the best young linebackers in Kansas City…

Every city has family names that have made their mark for generations.

In Kansas City, Arbanas is one of those names

Rockhurst linebacker Luke Arbanas is next in line to build on the family football legend. And he plans to do just that.

"My grandpa was a Chiefs Hall of Famer," Luke Arbanas says proudly of Fred Aarbanas, the man that became the gold standard for all tight ends. After leading his team to two Super Bowls and a World Championship, the Arbanas name became football royalty.

"My dad, he was born in Dallas," Luke says of his father, Mike Arbanas. "He's been in Kansas City since kindergarten, when the Texans moved here." Mike Arbanas starred at middle linebacker for Kansas City's Grandview (MO) High School in the late 1970s, drawing offers from many of college football's heavy hitters, Southern California and Oklahoma among them.

"He was an All-American at Grandview, and chose to stay home and play for Kansas instead of going to USC."

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound junior isn't afraid of the expectations that come with the Arbanas name. He feels a responsibility to carry on the family tradition.

"It's kind of important to me," he says, with more pride than his words let on. "Both sides of my parents' families live here in Kansas City. My dad's side, they all live in Lee's Summit. All of my mom's family is in Prairie Village."

Much like his football lineage, Luke Arbanas has embraced playing for tradition-rich Rockhurst High School.

"It's a lot of pressure," he says, nodding. "Everybody's hunting for you. You've got a big target on your back. Everybody knows that to pull the upset, they've got to bring the guns out to beat Rockhurst."

Not one for talking about his game, Arbanas is quick to point to his Hawklet teammates when asked about his success this season.

"Everyone operates off someone else, and everyone does their job," he says, the excitement building in his voice. "You know if you've got Jordan Willis, a stud athlete, and Jason Nix, a stud athlete, they keep the offensive linemen off the ‘backers. It's nice."

Hoping to follow in his father and grandather's footsteps and play Division I college football, Arbanas' recruiting is off to a fast start. With early contact from Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa, Iowa State, and Illinois, he has already seen one program up close.

"I visited Kansas last year when they had me up for a Junior Day as a sophomore," he says. "In the summer, I did a one-day camp, and I've been to two or three games this season."

"I'm a pretty huge KU fan," he says, smiling. "My dad was a four-year letterman there. I could see myself in a Kansas uniform, to follow in my dad's footsteps."

Luke's family ties to Lawrence, KS go beyond his father, who might not have been the best athlete in the Arbanas household to matriculate to KU.

"My mom was a multi-year All-American swimmer at KU, having never lost a single race in high school. My grandpa ran track there, and my great grandpa played baseball there. My brother and both cousins go there, too."

As first-year head coach Charlie Weis continues his work to turn the Jayhawks program around, Arbanas is anxious to spend more time around the program.

"I really haven't gotten to know the new staff yet. I really like Tim Grunhard, with him being from around here. He's a nice guy."

"I could easily see myself at Kansas. I love it at KU, and I would love to be there."

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