Salem offensive lineman Andy Lutes accepts walk-on offer from UVa

Salem offensive lineman Andy Lutes has accepted a preferred walk-on offer from Virginia over a similar offer from William and Mary.

The senior announced his commitment to UVa on Twitter Wednesday, marking the start of NCAA Division I football’s second winter signing period.

Lutes was chosen after being offered by UVa last Thursday.

“I went to see William and Mary last weekend and told the UVa coaches that I might commit to William and Mary,” Lutes said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “Well, I got the offer [from UVa] the day before my departure [to go on the visit to W&M].”

Lutes said last weekend’s official visit to 2022 FCS playoff contenders William and Mary was great, which made his decision more difficult.

“I was absolutely torn between the two of them,” said Lutes. “When I went on my official visit to William and Mary, I felt very respected as the preferred walk-on. Even my mother who is a UVA graduate [wasn’t sure what school I should pick]but I figured I couldn’t go to William and Mary and turn down my dream school.”

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Lutes said he chose UVa (3-7, 1-6 ACC) because he believed in his ability to earn game time.

“[UVa quarterback coach Taylor Lamb] told me, ‘Everyone comes here and develops, and as long as you develop properly, we’re going to put the best players in those positions,'” Lutes said.

The UVa soccer team and the Charlottesville area experienced tragedy last year in which three soccer players were shot dead.

“I feel absolutely safe. I’ve been a long-time fan of UVa and I know what kind of school it is and I know that was a rare occurrence,” Lutes said. “Me and my mom grieved, but it could have happened to any college, so I didn’t let it affect me.”

Lutes said he has a 4.2 GPA, which earned him an award for the highest GPA on the Salem football team.

“My mom always pushed academics with me, and I’ve always worked hard at it,” Lutes said.

Salem coach Don Holter said Lutes’ work ethic got him this far.

“The child is humble and works hard. He’s started for us on offense since he was a sophomore,” Holter said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “He was a student of the game and he worked hard to get his footwork and pad level right.

“Through hard work and determination, he just got better and better.”

Salem is one of the busiest teams in Timesland, and Lutes had to use his strength to move defenders consistently.

“I think the physicality that we’re playing with will push him forward,” Holter said.

“We’re going to manage football and we’re going to be physical.”

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