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Luke Sprague is betting on himself.
After playing sparingly at Long Island University for three years, the quarterback decided to transfer to Nassau Community College for this season.
“It was difficult but I’m very happy that I did it,” said Sprague. “I really wanted to take a bet on myself and play at a higher level after Nassau so I’m very happy I made this decision.”
How’s that bet playing out?
He’s currently one of the top QBs in all of junior college football. He’s among the leaders in several categories at the Division III level of NJCAA.
Through the first eight games of the season, Sprague threw for 1,605 yards (1st), had a completion percentage of 62.3 (2nd) and threw 13 touchdown passes (tied for 5th). He was also ranked No. 1 with an average of 240.5 passing yards per game.
He received some high praise from college football analyst Tom Lemming, host of Lemming Report on CBS Sports Network.
“The top JUCO QB at this time is Luke Sprague 6’5″ 225 Nassau CC,” Lemming tweeted Oct. 21. “Blessed with a strong and accurate arm he can throw the deep out with authority. Can also run himself out of trouble.”
Sprague has certainly enjoyed his time at Nassau.
“I’m extremely happy,” said Sprague, a native of Springfield, Penn. where he played for Cardinal O’Hara High School.
“I made a lot of great connections with the guys,” he said. “A lot of good connections with the coaches as well. I’m very thankful for what I’ve gained from being at Nassau.”
With a desire to get more playing time and to showcase his skills for another school at the D1 level, Sprague decided to transfer to NCC this season and play for Lions head coach Jamel Ramsay. He spent three seasons with LIU, but never earned the starting job.
Nassau has, historically, been one of the best junior college programs in the country and they have been a stepping stone for a lot of players to get to the next level. NCC has two former players in the NFL right now in Carolina Panthers tight end Ian Thomas and Green Bay Packers cornerback Rasul Douglas, who signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the team this offseason.
Ramsay and his staff, including defensive coordinator/recruiting coordinator Jeff Kousantanou pride themselves on helping players move on to bigger schools.
In fact, Ramsay was a player and coach at LIU Post (now LIU) while Kousantanou was a wide receivers coach at LIU Post.
So, Sprague felt a strong connection to leave the Sharks and come over the Lions.
“They have a great tradition,” said Sprague. “I know some of their coaches and I know a lot of them are Post (now LIU) guys. I thought it was a great program to be a part of. I know they have a great past and I wanted to be a part of that and felt that this was a good opportunity and a good step for me to get to where I want to be.”
And not only did Sprague have a connection to the coaches but he also had a strong connection to one of the players as his brother Cole is a wide receiver at NCC. Cole, who also transferred from LIU to NCC, is second on the Lions with 34 receptions for 343 yards and two touchdowns.
“Having (Cole) on the team has been great,” said Luke Sprague. “I’ve been fortunate to play with him my whole life. He is a great player and is a huge piece in the NCC offense.”
Check out the Sprague brother connection on this play:
Between his time at both LIU and Nassau Community College, Luke Sprague has come to enjoy life on Long Island and everything the region has to offer including football and education.
“I love being out here,” said Luke Sprague. “I love the relationships I’ve built and the people I’ve met like coaches and teachers and everything about it. I’ve been very blessed to be where I’m at.”
But what is Sprague favorite non-football aspect of Long Island?
“I would say the food,” he said. “The delis everywhere…that’s got to be my favorite.”
While Sprague has put up some big numbers at the quarterback position, the Lions will not be going to the playoffs. They are 5-4 after Saturday’s 48-0 win over Hudson Valley Community College at Mitchel Athletic Complex.
The Lions will close out the season when they host Connecticut State on Saturday, Nov. 12, at 1 p.m.
Sprauge loves the fact the Lions, despite some struggles this season, have not stopped working hard.
“Some things didn’t go our way this year but everyone I showing up for practice with the same amount of intensity and a lot of enthusiasm,” he said. “The record doesn’t really show how we’re acting as a team. We have a ton of confidence and everyone wants to be there. We’re ready to go. We got two games left and we’re going to finish up strong.”
And once the season comes to an end and his academic year is over, Sprague will turn his attention to his next stop and that is still to be determined.
At the end of the day, Luke Sprague will field his offers and make the decision that is in his best interests.
“I don’t have a school specifically where I want to go,” he said. “I’d like to play at the high FCS/FBS level. Nassau has been helping out. Coaches have been reaching out. We’ve been getting the ball rolling a little bit and hope it speeds a little bit but it’s been going well so far.”
Luke Sprague certainly rolled the dice by transferring from DI to junior college football, but the gamble worked out pretty well for him with a huge season for the Nassau Community College Lions. And now, only time will tell what program he will bring his talents to.
Top: Nassau Community College quarterback Luke Sprague dropping back to toss a pass. (Credit: Twitter)