Sports

It's official: Luck following Manning to the Colts

Andrew Luck became the fourth Stanford quarterback selected as the overall No. 1 pick in the NFL draft when the Indianapolis Colts called his name Thursday on the first day of the draft.

"It was great. It was everything I ever thought it would be," Luck told ESPN. "I can't wait to start with the Colts."

Luck joins Stanford quarterback legends John Elway, Jim Plunkett and Bobby Garrett as the overall top pick. Elway was also drafted by the Colts when the team was in Baltimore but forced a trade to the Denver Broncos, where he grew into a Super Bowl winner.

Luck told Colts fans to "hope for the best." He also said he would work hard for his new team.

"I feel so honored, so grateful to represent this city now and be a part of the team," Luck said.

Luck became the first player the Colts selected first overall since the team took Peyton Manning in 1998. Manning became an influence on Luck, who attended the Manning football camps.

"You don't really replace a guy like that," Luck said. "You can't. You just try to do the best you can. Obviously, he was my hero growing up."

Luck completed 71.3 percent of his passes for 3,517 yards and 37 touchdowns while leading Stanford to the Fiesta Bowl this past season.

"It's a new era, it's a new beginning," Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson said. "Really, it's exciting and we got our guy. He's the one we feel is going to take us where we want to go with this thing. He shares the same vision that we all do, so we're excited."

Luck will be at the Colts' rookie mini-camp in the first week of May, but will not be allowed to participate in their offseason program until after completing the spring quarter.

The Pittsburgh Steelers made Stanford offensive lineman David DeCastro their first pick, No. 24 overall.

DeCastro becomes the first Stanford lineman drafted in the first round since Kwame Harris was taken by the San Francisco 49ers in 2003.

Stanford tight end Coby Fleener joins Luck in Indianapolis, as the Colts use their second round pick for him.

"I knew it was a possibility and I couldn't be happier as to where I ended up," Fleener said. "He's an amazing guy, a good friend, a great quarterback and I'm happy to be his teammate."

One of the most productive tight ends in school history, Fleener finished his career with 96 receptions for 1,543 yards and 18 touchdowns. His 18 touchdowns rank first all-time among Stanford tight ends and are tied for fifth on the school's all-time career list.

Fleener earned Sporting News All-America honors after hauling in 34 pass for 667 yards and a team-high 10 touchdowns as a senior. He averaged 19.6 yards per catch, which ranks seventh on Stanford's all-time single-season list. A hybrid tight end whose speed and athleticism allowed him to stretch the field, Fleener caught four passes for over 50 yards on the year, including a career-long 62-yarder at Washington State.

He is the eighth overall Stanford tight end to be drafted, following Jim Dray (Arizona; 2010), Alex Smith (Tampa Bay; 2005), Greg Clark (San Francisco; 1997), Tony Cline (Buffalo; 1995), Turner Baur (New England; 1992), Greg Baty (New England; 1986) and Chris Dressel (Houston; 1983).

Stanford offensive lineman Jonathan Martin was taken by the Miami Dolphins in the second round.

Martin teamed with DeCastro to anchor Stanford's offensive line for the past three seasons, helping the Cardinal amass three of the top four single-season rushing totals in school history. The line allowed just 24 sacks over a three-year period while its pass protection allowed luck to establish school records for passing efficiency, completion percentage and touchdowns.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

Comments

Posted by SportsSage, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 27, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Andrew Luck is just a great, all-around young man. We should all wish him the very best, and an early starter-date, with the hapless Colts. If he can't pull it off there, maybe he will join a good club at some point, and turn it into a great one. Let's hope so.


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