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Nick Harris

Luepke Focused On Being Best Version of Himself

25 May 2023:  Hunter Luepke (43)    
of the Dallas Cowboys during an OTA  practice at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.   Photo by James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys
25 May 2023: Hunter Luepke (43) of the Dallas Cowboys during an OTA practice at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. Photo by James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys

FRISCO, Texas — Even at one of the most prolific programs in all of Division I football, North Dakota State fullback Hunter Luepke made a name for himself in his four years for the Bison.

The Spencer, Wis. native quickly became a fan favorite in Fargo with his versatility as a ball-carrier and pass-catcher for one of the top offenses in FCS which led to him being one of the Dallas Cowboys' first undrafted free agent signings after the NFL Draft last month.

"At NDSU, I kind of played everything and they moved me all over," Luepke said. "I had to learn the whole offense, I had to know what the o-line was doing, what the quarterback was thinking, what the tight ends and fullbacks were doing. It helped me learn the game of football a little bit more which I think really helped me get to where I am today."

Where he is today just so happens to be at one of the spots he hoped he landed at going into the draft process as during rookie mini-camp over the weekend, Luepke got to soak in the moment around The Star while also acknowledging what's ahead.

"It's awesome," he said. "Just going out and seeing the facilities and getting to meet teammates and all of the coaches. It's an exciting time. You're here playing football and not having to worry about school or anything like that, it's just football now. It's every little guy's dream."

Along with meeting with the Cowboys during the combine, Luepke hopped on multiple Zoom meetings with run game coordinator and running backs coach Jeff Blasko during the draft process, and an immediate attachment to the culture with the coaching staff stood out.

"We've heard it so many times already, but the culture they have here is amazing," he said. "You can really tell that when I was talking to the staff. They hold everybody to a high standard, just like NDSU did before here. It's something I know a little bit about, but I gotta step in and remain at the level of the Cowboys standard."

Luepke has an early understanding of what he has to do in order to make an impact on his new team with a personal process that he is making sure to go through without skipping any steps, beginning with making an impact on special teams.

"Special teams is key," he said. "If you want to play on a team and if you want to play for a long time, you gotta embrace special teams and it's something I'm really looking forward to [doing]. I'm trying to be as versatile as possible to help out this team. First things first, I gotta make the squad and I gotta learn the playbook."

Focusing on what he has to do to go from an undrafted free agent to a mainstay on the roster is what is ahead for Luepke, and gleaming from his persona is a sense of confidence that he can get to where he wants to be by just being himself and trusting in his own abilities.

"I'm just trying to be myself out there," he said. "I'm not trying to be anybody else, I'm just trying to be the best version of Hunter Luepke that I can be every day."

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