INDIANAPOLIS – There is no place Andrew Luck can go to escape speculation about where he might be taken in the opening round of the NFL Draft on April 26.
He has had that be a near-constant topic through much of last year, so why would Friday in Indianapolis be any different?
Luck, 6-4, 235, is one of about 325 draft-eligible players attending the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. He met with the media Friday, and his availability drew quite the audience. He spoke of his on-field plans for the Combine.
“I’m not going to throw at the Combine. I’ll participate in all the other drills, the running, the jumping, the ‘L,’ the 5-10-5,” said Luck. “I was told earlier that there’s something out there that teams had advised me not to throw and that was not the case. I made the decision by myself. I bounced it off my agent and my father and felt like it was in my best interest to wait until Pro Day, so we’ll go from there.”
Luck directed Stanford to an 11-2 record in 2011 and a second straight BCS Bowl appearance. He completed 288-of-404 passes for 3,517 yards and 37 touchdowns. Luck threw for three or more touchdowns eight times, capping his Cardinal career by completing 27-of-31 passes for 347 yards and two touchdowns in a 41-38 overtime loss to Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl.
For his career, Luck completed 713-of-1,064 passes for 9,430 yards, with 82 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. He set school marks in touchdown passes, completion percentage (68.7), passing efficiency (162.76) and total offense (10,387), while ranking second in passing yardage. Luck earned a 31-7 starting record at Stanford, including a 24-5 conference record and an 8-3 mark against Top 25 teams. His career wins and winning percentage are school marks at his position, and he led Stanford to three bowl appearances as a starter. Luck helped Stanford to three consecutive seasonal scoring records (461, 2009; 524, 2010; 561, 2011) and to 40-plus points 17 times. He hit for three or more touchdowns in 15 of 38 starts and for four scores in seven outings. Luck also rushed for 957 yards and seven touchdowns during his career (first among school quarterbacks), including three rushes longer than 50 yards. With Luck at the controls, Stanford spent 29 consecutive weeks in the AP poll, including 22 straight ranked in the Top 10. The Cardinal had seven consecutive losing seasons prior to Luck starting in 2009. The school then posted 8-5, 12-1 and 11-2 records.
Luck was coached earlier in his career by Jim Harbaugh, now the field leader with San Francisco. Harbaugh spent four memorable seasons with the Colts (1994-97), and Luck enjoyed the tutelage.
“He’s been an unbelievable resource ever since coming out of high school, to dealing with college, things that come with being a quarterback and maybe getting a little more attention than other people because he obviously was been there, done that before,” said Luck. “I definitely stay in touch with him. I’ve called and asked for advice on certain things, texted him. I’m not surprised at all with the success he’s had with San Francisco. It’s very well deserved. He’s a great resource. I feel very fortunate to have been coached by him.
“I am familiar with Captain Comeback. I know he had a great experience here (in Indianapolis), but no we have not talked about the city much.”
Luck is one of the most decorated collegiate quarterbacks in history. This past year, he earned Walter Camp Football Foundation Player-of-the-Year honors, won the Maxwell Trophy as the nation’s top player and earned the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Trophy. Luck was a two-time Pac-12 Offensive Player-of-the-Year and twice finished second in Heisman Trophy voting (behind QBs-Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III).
Luck enjoyed the full collegiate experience at Stanford before deciding to take his football experience to the next level.
“First of all, I had fun with it, which was a big deal for me,” said Luck. “I learned a lot about football. I don’t think I’d be as prepared as I am now for what may come next, just the Xs and the Os. It never hurts to get more experience under your belt.
“(I was) surrounded by great people, whether they’re trying to cure cancer or great musicians, entrepreneurs, millionaires by age 21 by their own companies. I think you’re surrounded by a lot of great people.”
Luck is the son of Oliver Luck, currently the athletic director at West Virginia, where he played quarterback from 1978-81. Oliver Luck was the 44th overall selection in the 1982 draft by Houston, the third quarterback taken (Art Schlichter, fourth overall to Colts; Jim McMahon, fifth overall to Chicago). Luck played for Houston from 1982-86, starting nine of 20 appearances and hitting 233-of-413 passes for 2,544 yards, with 13 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. He was a Rhodes Scholar finalist who graduated magna cum laude from West Virginia in 1982. He practiced law in Germany before serving on the club level and as league president with the World League of American Football. Luck served more than 10 years as vice president of business development and president/CEO of NFL Europe. He also worked as CEO of the Houston Sports Authority overseeing facility planning and construction. His father has been a resource.
“He’s been great. Like Coach Harbaugh, a great resource to have,” said Luck. “He’s been through this situation. He’s been around sports business my whole life, so there’s a lot of people in the business. If he can’t answer a question, I know he knows someone a phone call away who can. On top of that, he’s been a great dad with his fatherly advice. He’s been invaluable.”
He was asked the hypothetical question about the possibility of being on the same roster as Colts quarterback
“When you have a chance to learn from a guy like Peyton Manning, if that chance arises you’d better take advantage of it,” said Luck. “He’s arguably the best quarterback ever. He was my hero growing up. … If I had the opportunity to learn from a guy like that, of course you’re going to take advantage of it.”
Andrew Luck graduated from Stratford High School in Houston, Texas. He was the valedictorian of his 2008 graduating class.
DRAFT NOTE: The first overall pick in the NFL Draft has been a quarterback in eight of the past 10 years. Here is a list of the top two quarterbacks taken since 2002:
Year Names (team, overall choice)
2002 David Carr (Houston, first); Joey Harrington (Detroit, third)
2003 Carson Palmer (Cincinnati, first); Byron Leftwich (Jacksonville, seventh)
2004 Eli Manning (San Diego, first); Philip Rivers (New York Giants, fourth)
2005 Alex Smith (San Francisco, first); Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay, 24th)
2006 Vince Young (Tennessee, third); Matt Leinart (Arizona, 10th)
2007 JaMarcus Russell (Oakland, first); Brady Quinn (Cleveland, 22nd)
2008 Matt Ryan (Atlanta, third); Joe Flacco (Baltimore, 18th)
2009 Matthew Stafford (Detroit, first); Mark Sanchez (New York Jets, fifth)
2010 Sam Bradford (St. Louis, first); Tim Tebow (Denver, 25th)
2011 Cam Newton (Carolina, first); Jake Locker (Tennessee, eighth)