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St. Francis product Tasker signs with San Diego

Luke Tasker is ready to bring the family name back into the NFL.

Tasker, a St. Francis graduate and Cornell senior, is hoping to follow in his famous father Steve’s footsteps, as he has agreed to a rookie free agent contract with the San Diego Chargers.

“The whole family was just so, so excited when I finally said, ‘OK, I’m a Charger.’ My dad especially was very proud. We’re all excited to see what happens in the next few months,” Luke Tasker said.

After a standout career at St. Francis that included two straight selections to the All-Western New York first team, Tasker finished his career with the Big Red with 2,482 receiving yards, second in school history and 13th most all time in the Ivy League. As a senior, he caught 75 passes for a school single-season record 1,207 yards (sixth all-time in Ivy League history) and eight touchdowns.

Tasker was a unanimous first-team All-Ivy pick and a third-team FCS All-American by Beyond Sports Network.

While he was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in February, Tasker, 5-foot-11 and 191 pounds, impressed scouts last month at the Cornell pro day by running the 40-yard dash in 4.59 seconds and posting a vertical of 33.5 inches.

Tasker will have a natural connection with San Diego General Manager Tom Telesco in that they’re both graduates of St. Francis.

“I definitely know that he had asked questions about me to the St. Francis staff earlier in the semester. I had met him once when I was quite younger,” Tasker said by phone from Ithaca on Monday night. “I would think that that’s the way he probably first heard of me was probably through St. Francis.”

The Chargers had been in contact with Tasker and his agent throughout the draft process. Tasker knew that the likelihood of getting drafted over the weekend was slim, but said San Diego called just 10 minutes after the draft to offer a free-agent contract.

“There were some ups and downs throughout the draft Saturday, then all of a sudden the San Diego Chargers are now my new favorite team,” he said. “It all happened fast, and I couldn’t be happier now.”

Tasker is set to graduate from Cornell on May 26 with a major in communications and a minor in business. He carries a 3.0 grade-point average. He’ll attend the Chargers’ rookie minicamp that begins May 10, then come back to Ithaca to walk across the stage before heading back out west.

Tasker knows that as an undrafted rookie free agent, his best opportunity to shine will come – where else? – on special teams. That’s how his father managed to play 13 years in the league, make seven Pro Bowls and become one of the game’s all-time best in that role.

“I fully expect it. I’m really excited about that. I’ve played special teams all through my high school career and all through my college career,” Luke Tasker said. “It’s always been something I’ve done. I’m absolutely excited to get the chance to do that as well.”

Tasker joins Akron’s J.C. Tretter – a college teammate who was drafted in the fourth round by Green Bay – and Buffalo’s Steven Means (fifth round, Tampa Bay) as the latest Western New Yorkers in the NFL.