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May 06, 2010 3:29 am

Lujan inks deal with Black Hills State

Written by Tribune Staff

PHS Shrine Bowl selection headed to the NAIA

Powell High School senior Joe Lujan will continue his athletic career this fall as a member of the Black Hills State University football program. Lujan recently signed his letter of intent with the NAIA-affiliated school.

“We've always gone to team camp there and I liked the atmosphere and their coaching style,” said Lujan. “I went to a combine there and really felt comfortable.”

Lujan said he also looked at Rocky Mountain College, Mesa and Chadron. In the end “Black Hills State University had the best offer on the table,” he said.

As a senior, Lujan fought through a knee injury to record 5.5 quarterback sacks and six tackles for loss as a defender for the Panthers last fall. His efforts on the gridiron earned him a spot on the 2010 Shrine Bowl roster, in addition to the attention of various colleges.

While he was also a member of the Panthers' offensive line this past year, it is on the defensive side of the football where Lujan will likely find his niche at the next level. He notes the Black Hills coaching staff currently has him targetted as an outside linebacker for the fall.

“We'll see where I fit in and how things go once I'm there,” Lujan said.

Lujan plans to major in exercise science at Black Hills. While he's excited for the opportunity to play for four more years, he's also nostalgic about his time in Powell.

“I'll miss playing with all of my friends and I don't think I'll get that same feeling of the Friday night lights,” said Lujan. “The atmosphere and the crowds in Powell, that's probably what I'll miss the most. That and the relationship I have with the coaches here.”

Lujan joins a Yellow Jacket football program that went 6-4 last season, including a 23-13 victory over conference foe Dickinson State University in the Dacotah Bank DAC Bowl. Black Hills qualified for the 2007 NAIA playoffs.