Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Andrew Staying In School Brings Luck to Stanford


His name is Andrew Luck, Stanford's NFL-ready gunslinger. Many were surprised when he chose the campus lifestyle over his Careerbuilder.com transition to the NFL, nonetheless used to the atmosphere at the university and loving every moment as a top star for a prominent school.

There, he's an asset for the well-known Pac-12 school -- and he can never breathe, rescuing a legit program from itself with his pro-like throwing motion and ability to avoid pressure in the pocket. Know what amazes me about Luck? He is not money-hungry and rather thrive for a higher education, and realize that the NFL is a propitious opportunity in the future, as long as Luck keeps accomplishing feats and literally lift his draft status to be considered a top prospect in the 2012 NFL Draft -- where he is believed strongly to land No. 1 in the draft.

That is among quarterbacks, projected to be the best pocket passer and all-encompassing star next April. But then -- he wasn't influenced or allured by money, and bypassed ultimately the richest deal on NFL payday, which cost Luck more than $40 million and possibly as much as $60 million.

Many were critical when Luck could have been the NFL's highest-paid rookie and decided to return to Stanford this fall as a fourth-year junior, in pursuit of a Pac-12 championship and a degree in architectural design. It seems that school comes first in Luck's view, an education significantly is his primary goal. But then, does he really need a backup plan??

He's already an elite quarterback with much potential to polish in the NFL as an immediate impact, during an era that the league is surrounded by the depth of first-class quarterbacks. The idea is also to win the stiffed-arm trophy, and he has the ambition in driving the Cardinal to a legitimate bowl game or even qualifying for individual accolades with his experience and a bright mind.

The students and alumni’s can dance, scream louder and celebrate the return of a valuable piece in Stanford's pursuit of a national title this season. The Stanford Tree, arguably one of the best mascots in all sports, can dance wilder than ever and perform silly antics near the sideline to entertain the feverish fans in Northern California.

It's now fair to openly admit Stanford is a football power of an evolving culture conducted by Luck and his capability to hurl downfield passes. It was not long ago that he finished as a Heisman runner-up -- but with that in mind -- he is favorite to win college football's most prestigious award. If it weren't for 2010 Heisman winner Cam Newton, in which Luck finished shy in the voting, he would have won the award and taken home a honorable trophy for such diligence, perseverance and craftiness.

What no one ever talks about is how Stanford is coming off its best season, a 12-1 season that ended with an Orange Bowl win against Virginia Tech. Above all, though, he chose to return and rebuffed interest in earnings of a massive paycheck. That's a rarity in the financial world we reside in today, but not in Luck's case, a star athlete at Stanford with the patience to work hard in school and then emerge into the professional ranks.

It wasn't only about the money or what he'd earn as an elite quarterback, it was about winning a national title and helping Stanford reach that point. Greater than all, it was about Luck mustering a foundation, well, to sought for a better tomorrow in the event he never advanced as a professional star. But, clearly and evidently, it's hard to imagine Luck becoming a bust.

All things seem possible, particularly when he was the element of Stanford ending the 2010 season ranked fourth. For now, it may sound weird, but he turned down money and really had school in mind all along and it's not too far-fetched to believe that Stanford is among the favorites to win a national title under Luck's final season in a Cardinal uniform. He had become one of the best quarterback's in Stanford history and to ever sustain so many feats at Stanford, a star liked on campus and the face of a university -- perhaps the biggest face -- since John Elway was at the helm.

He's an ideal competitor, a winner and a matured youngster of goodwill and civility leading an elite institution, worthy of the Heisman and other awards after staying in school. Not too many student athletes stay in college for a four-year term, but forgo their junior or senior seasons, just to collect bundles of cash whether they're having financial issues or happen to be just greedy for the love of money. Meanwhile, Luck isn't running for money, but chasing a dream.

He's not fleeing the university for millions, but staying for loyalty and royalty. He's not cutting his bond short at Stanford, but he's putting the Cardinal in good position to win a national title. It could happen, you know. As long as Luck exists, he can set a new culture for Stanford, a program that has become physical and fierce.

It's another promising season for Stanford, the team suddenly expected to win the Pac-12 title fortunate to possess a committed stud in Luck, turning down NO. 1 overall money and decided that he'd pursue football grandiosity and his degree over millions, while others would have delve for payments.

If there's one person who knows his quarterback, it's new Stanford coach David Shaw in the beginning of his regime, a successor to former coach Jim Harbaugh, who is now the 49ers head coach. As for Luck, he embraces the campus, immerses himself in textbooks and he arrives on time for practice to play an important role as a team leader.

By the time the year is over, he could be rightfully crowned a champ, despite that Stanford rebuilt an offensive line with a fully equipped rush attack. And, given his comeback to Stanford, we can't underestimate the Cardinal.

Not when there is much Luck.

And there's a whole lot of Luck.