Jim Lukens '48 is regarded as one of the best tight ends in the history of Washington and Lee football. Enrolled in the law school as a graduate student, Lukens had already earned a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Louisville in 1946.
A three-sport athlete at W&L, Lukens lettered in football, basketball, and track and earned All-State, All-Southern Conference, and Honorable Mention All-America honors on the football field his final season. He also received the Forest Fletcher trophy as the track team MVP in 1948.
Lukens' pass catching ability was well documented in the world of college football and the media. Former Virginia coach Art Guepe stated "Lukens is a towering pass snatcher and can catch anything thrown within 10 yards of him" and the Richmond Times-Dispatch revealed that "Lukens seems to be able to catch a pass in any position except, perhaps, standing on his head." He would later be called the end with flypaper hands.
By his senior season, Lukens had become one of the best pass catching ends in the nation. After being named team captain, Lukens grabbed 33 passes for 439 yards and one touchdown in 1948 and was fourth in the country in receiving. Twice, Lukens earned Southern Conference "Lineman of the Week" honors and his best game may have been his five-catch, 108-yard performance in a 14-7 win over Virginia Tech, leading the Generals past the Hokies for the first time in their last five meetings.