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Top 50 football players in Arizona Wildcats history: No. 21 Bill Lueck

Photo illustration by azcentral sports.

Photo illustration by azcentral sports.

Position, years at UA: Offensive guard, 1965-67

Honors, accomplishments at UA: Earned first-team All-WAC honors as a senior, when he was voted the team’s MVP. … Was on the WAC’s 15-year All-Star Team, selected after the 1976 season. … Inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 1984. … Was program’s second first-round NFL draft pick.

Why he made our list: Lueck was an All-Arizona tackle at Avondale Agua Fria High School in 1963, picking Arizona over Arizona State, where his brother Bob played football. UA coach Jim LaRue used that to his recruiting advantage.

“He said, ‘Don’t you want your own identity?’ and ‘Aren’t you tired of being a little brother?’ ” Lueck said in a story for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2012. “Besides, my wife (then girlfriend) Mary was going to U of A.”

Lueck played at a time when the Wildcats were struggling on the field, so awards and other recognition were scarce, as UA won only three games in each of Lueck’s seasons. The first two were under LaRue before Darrell Mudra took over for 1967.

But Lueck, known as strong and mobile as a pulling guard after playing tackle, began to make a name for himself in UA’s 14-7 win at Ohio State in the second game of the 1967 season, catching the eye of scouts from the Green Bay Packers.

NFL legend Vince Lombardi, who gave up coaching Green Bay after the 1967 season, was still the team’s general manager and went for Lueck with the 26th pick in the 1968 NFL draft. At the time, Lombardi called him “the best guard in the nation.”

Life after college: Lueck, who told the Journal Sentinel he received a $15,000 bonus and a $15,000 salary for being a 1968 first-rounder, played in 92 games over seven seasons for Green Bay. When Jerry Kramer retired from the Packers, Lueck became the starter at right guard for the next six seasons.

He suffered a knee injury at the end of the 1974 season and was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1975 preseason. He started the first 11 games of that year before another knee injury finished his career.

Lueck returned to the Phoenix area, joining the family tradition as a dairy farmer. Lueck, 67, lives in Litchfield Park.

In partnership with the Arizona Republic, we are counting down the top 50 football players in Arizona Wildcats history. Leave your top 10 at AG’s Wildcat Report on Facebook, and check out azcentral.com for the countdown of ASU’s Top 50 football players.

Arizona’s top 50

No. 50 — LaMonte Hunley

No. 49 — Hubie Oliver

No. 48 — Rob Gronkowski

No. 47 — Jim Donarski

No. 46 — Ontiwaun Carter

No. 45 — Steve McLaughlin

No. 44 — John Fina

No. 43 — Glenn Parker

No. 42 — Bobby Lee Thompson

No. 41 — Marcus Bell

No. 40 — Fred W. Enke

No. 39 — Ka’Deem Carey

No. 38 — Juron Criner

No. 37 — Dana Wells

No. 36 — Tom Tunnicliffe

No. 35 — Bruce Hill

No. 34 — Chuck Osborne

No. 33 — Brandon Sanders

No. 32 — Sean Harris

No. 31 — Mike Thomas

No. 30 — Bobby Wade

No. 29 — T Bell

No. 28 — Joe Salave’a

No. 27 — Eddie Wilson

No. 26 — Chuck Levy

No. 25 — Allan Durden

No. 24 — Nick Foles

No. 23 — Tony Bouie

No. 22 — ‘King Kong’ Nolan

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