Andrew Luck College Career: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck is having one of his best statistical seasons of his seven-year career. The former number one overall pick has completed 67.3 percent of his passes (career best) for 4,593 yards and 39 touchdowns. Luck led the Colts to a 10-6 record, including wins in nine of their last ten games of the regular season. The Colts will try and carry that momentum into AFC wild-card weekend against the divisional rival Houston Texans.

Before entering the NFL, Luck had a superb collegiate career at Stanford University.

Here’s what you need to know.


1. Luck Received Offers From Six Division I Colleges

GettyAndrew Luck speaking with reporters at media day 2011.

As one of the most decorated NFL prospects at his position, you might be surprised to hear that Luck didn’t exactly rack up the offers as high school QB in Houston, Texas. He was a consensus high four-star, pro-style prospect in high school. Luck received offers from Northwestern, Alabama, Rice, Purdue, Oklahoma State, and Stanford. Rice University (located in Houston) was the only Texas college to offer him.

Perhaps some schools thought he was a lock to attend Stanford. Luck committed to Stanford without visiting any other schools the summer before his senior year of high school.


2. Luck Redshirted His Freshman Year in 2008

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It’s rare for freshman to get meaningful playing time in Division I football. Even rarer if you happen to play QB. Luck redshirted his freshman season at Stanford. Under the redshirt rules at the time (they have since changed), if a redshirted player was on the field for a single snap, they’d lose a year of eligibility.

As such, Luck never saw the field. Then coached by current Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, Stanford finished the 2008 season 5-7, failing to qualify for a bowl game. Junior QB Tavita Pritchard was the starting QB for Stanford in Luck’s freshman year.


3. Luck Won the Starting Job as a Redshirt Freshman in 2009

As a redshirt freshman, Luck won the starting job over Pritchard and made his collegiate debut against Washington State on September 5, 2009. Although he had a rough day (11/23 for 193 yards and one touchdown), the Cardinal stomped Wazzu 39-13.

His redshirt freshman season was filled with close losses. Stanford’s largest margin of defeat in the 2009 season was just 10 points at Oregon State. The Cardinal finished the season 8-4 after a valiant run at the end of the year that saw top-ten wins over both Oregon and USC in back-to-back weeks. Luck was 12/20 against Stanford with two touchdowns and 12/22 for 144 yards and two touchdowns against USC, besting Trojans star QB Matt Barkley.

Luck’s numbers probably would’ve been better in the 2009 season if Stanford was a pass-oriented team. At the time, Harbaugh had a run-centric offense that highlighted star RB Toby Gerhart, who accumulated a staggering 1,871 rushing yards that year. Nevertheless, Luck finished the year with a 56.3 percent completion rate, 2,575 yards, and 13 TDs to just four interceptions.

In Stanford’s final regular season game against Notre Dame, Luck injured a finger on his throwing hand, which required surgery. Sadly, he wasn’t available for the 2009 Sun Bowl loss to Oklahoma.


4. After a Breakout Season as a Redshirt Sophomore, Luck Shocked the World by Returning to Stanford

 

GettyAndrew Luck at media day (2011)

As a redshirt sophomore, Luck began to shine. He led the Cardinal to a 12-1 record, with their only loss coming at top-five ranked Oregon in the fifth week of the season.

Luck completed 70.7 percent of his passes for 3,338 yards, 32 touchdowns, and just eight interceptions. His 32 touchdowns broke John Elway’s single-season record of 27.

At the end of the year, he was awarded Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, All-Pac-12 First Team, and an All-American. Luck finished second to Auburn QB Cam Newton in the Heisman Trophy ceremony, and led Stanford to a resounding Orange Bowl win over Virginia Tech (40-12). The Cardinal finished the season ranked fourth in the AP Poll.

Despite being projected as the number one overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Luck decided to remain at Stanford for his redshirt junior season.

“I am committed to earning my degree in architectural design from Stanford University and am on track to accomplish this at the completion of the spring quarter of 2012,” Luck said in a statement released by Stanford University.


5. Luck’s Redshirt Junior Season Managed to be Even Better Than the Last

GettyLuck at the 2011 Heisman Trophy Ceremony

After Jim Harbaugh left Stanford to take the San Francisco 49ers head coaching job following the 2010 season, offensive coordinator David Shaw was elevated to head coach at Stanford. Despite the coaching change, Stanford, and Luck, picked up right where they left off, starting the 2011 season 9-0.

In the thick of the national title hunt, Luck and the Cardinal hosted Oregon on November 12, 2011. Unfortunately for the Cardinal, the Ducks once again shattered their national title hopes with a deafening 53-30 victory at Stanford. Luck had an uncharacteristically mediocre game, throwing two costly interceptions.

For the year, however, Luck was brilliant. He completed 71.3 percent of his passes for 3,517 yards and tossed 37 touchdowns, breaking the record he set the year prior. He also passed Elway for most touchdowns thrown in Stanford history with 82 to Elway’s 77.

For the second year in a row, Luck was named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, First Team All-American, and First Team All-Pac-12. He also won the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award and the Maxwell Award. Once again, he finished second for the Heisman, this time to Baylor QB Robert Griffin III.

Luck’s impact on the Stanford program cannot be overstated. 2010 (and then 2011) marked the first time Stanford made a BCS bowl game. Luck led the Cardinal to its best two-season win total and best ever season in school history during his tenure.

His tremendous 2011 campaign made him the consensus selection for the number one overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. A popular slogan throughout the NFL during Luck’s last season at Stanford was “Suck for Luck.” The Colts, who finished 2-14 while Peyton Manning sat out the season with an injury, sucked more than any other NFL team and had the honor of making Luck the number one overall pick.

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