Illinois High School Football News

Huntley’s Luke Griskey went from ‘horrible’ to Air Force commit in three years

Huntley’s Luke Griskey blocks during the first day of football practice Monday, 8, 2022, in the Huntley High School  field house after stormy weather move practice inside.

HUNTLEY – Senior Luke Griskey distinctly remembers the tough love he received three years ago from Huntley freshman football coach Brad Aney.

Aney often critiqued plays Griskey had made when the team reviewed videos.

“I was actually horrible,” Griskey said. “Coach Aney would make fun of me in film every day. He would rip on me. I didn’t want to play anymore. I handed him my pads, I didn’t want to play anymore. And he wouldn’t let me. He said, ‘You’re not going to quit because some day you’re going to be something good.’ I was like, ‘All right.’ I gave it another shot.”

Fortunately for Griskey and the Raiders, Aney’s motivation produced the desired effects. The big kid stuck with it. He got bigger and a whole lot better.

Huntley OL Luke Griskey

Griskey (6-foot-5, 265 pounds) now is a leader on Huntley’s offensive line and has committed to attend the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs to play football. Griskey will attend the academy’s prep school and play for one year before attending Air Force.

“Sophomore year I did OK, I was rotating on varsity,” Griskey said. “Those guys brought me up and taught me how to really play. I fell in love with it.”

Griskey has other NCAA Division I offers, but also fell in love with Air Force when he visited the school in the spring.

“I’d never heard him mention anything about Air Force,” Huntley coach Mike Naymola said. “He went there and absolutely fell in love with the culture and the presence Air Force has. He said that’s what he wanted to do. We said, ‘You understand the commitment part of that?’ He’s like, ‘I’m 100% invested.’

“If he can get there and compete and go through the daily routine they go through, he’s going to be a much better man for it. I’m super-excited for him. He committed two months before school got out. He was doing visits here and there. Air Force just blew him away.”

Griskey spoke with his parents, Timothy and Christy, about the commitment and discipline. With the year of prep school, Griskey will be committed for 10 years to the Air Force. He also has two uncles who served in the military.

“The biggest thing is how it will set me up for life,” he said. “I’ll have around a six-figure job out of college. Service has always been big in my family, so that wasn’t a major deterrent. At the same time, I’ll be playing great football.

“It is a big commitment. Ten years is a good chunk, but I feel like with the education, the football, how it will set me up, everything just lines up.”

Griskey had interest from Central Michigan, Fordham, San Jose State and San Diego State, among other schools. He liked that Air Force utilizes the triple-option, which can operate effectively with linemen who are not as heavy.

Aney is proud of Griskey’s willingness to accept the criticism as motivation to become better.

“There are times in life where you are going to meet adversity, and you have to choose to tackle it head on or run away from it,” Aney said. “Like is the case in life, you learn so much more from the failures in life than the successes. The last thing you ever want to do in life is go around thinking of the “what ifs” or regretting the “could have beens.”

“Then I guaranteed him he would regret it more if he gave up than if he powered through and saw what was waiting for him on the other side of conquering the adversity in his life. I couldn’t be more proud of who Luke has become both on and off the football field. Anyone with talent can become something great on the football field, but it takes a true champion both on and off the football field to become truly special. Luke leads by example, not because anyone is watching, but because he has an inner compass that he found that roots itself in integrity and community service.”

The coaches saw Griskey’s size right away and realized he could be special.

“He was a big body, but he was awkward,” Naymola said. “He worked his tail off to get strong. He was kind of a big goof, that’s probably why he got discouraged. I remember [Aney and Griskey] talking about how he was able to stay the course.

“[Luke] is a real positive guy. The next year Luke was playing varsity reserve football for us. He was playing almost up a level. Last year he came out of his shell a little bit. He’s 6-5 and 260, and you start generating some interest. He’s a worker. He really wants to be good. He doesn’t get outworked by anybody in there.”

Griskey hopes to be an integral part of a Huntley rebound this season after a 3-6 season in 2021, the Red Raiders’ first nonplayoff year since 2014.

Naymola smiles when considering how the coaches can motivate Griskey now, although he doubts they will need it.

“Now we always have that in our back pocket, ‘You know, you’re not going to get away with that at Air Force,’ " Naymola said.