Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - December 23, 2011

Luck is in no hurry for the NFL draft

by The Associated Press

Andrew Luck plans to relax for at least a week after Stanford's Fiesta Bowl game against Oklahoma State on Jan. 2 before he moves fully into NFL draft preparations.

The Heisman Trophy runner-up quarterback and projected No. 1 pick said Tuesday he will cherish his last two weeks with the Cardinal then return home to West Virginia and take a much-needed break before switching gears.

"I'm going to go home and take a week or a week and a half off and figure it all out, because I don't want to sit here during practice preparing for a game thinking about agents, where you're going to train or yadda, yadda, yadda," Luck said after Tuesday's practice. "I'll go home and take a little breather and then get into the whole process."

When asked about a report that he would sign with agent Tom Condon, Luck said, "That's news to me."

He didn't elaborate.

Condon represents Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning and Luck is likely to land with Indianapolis (1-13).

Luck won't be enrolled at Stanford during the winter quarter while he trains, but will return to school for the spring session to finish his last two classes in order to graduate. He isn't allowing himself to get too nostalgic as he goes through his final week of practice on The Farm before the team travels to Arizona on Monday.

"Practice is still practice," Luck said. "I don't really savor it. I try to come out here and enjoy it and realize the time is limited with all your buddies, but more importantly just focusing on trying to win and enjoying those moments."

Once Tuesday's workout was over, Luck walked over to a nearby fence to meet two young children.

"What's up, kids?" he said before grabbing a pen to sign their poster.

Luck realizes full well he is leaving a legacy that will be tough to match.

"I hope it will resonate in the history of Stanford football," Luck said. "I think we've done some pretty remarkable stuff so far. Obviously you want to finish it out on a high note with hopefully a win against a good Oklahoma State team. I think we've done some special things at the university and I'm sure people will remember it down the road."

First-year coach David Shaw doesn't plan to change his expectations for the Cardinal once there's a new face behind center taking Luck's place.

"Hopefully our era doesn't come to an end with Andrew leaving," Shaw said. "Everybody is wondering how we're going to be next year without Andrew. That's good."

Luck lost out on the Heisman for the second straight year — this time to Baylor's Robert Griffin III — despite being the preseason favorite for college football's top individual honor after returning to college for one final hurrah and shot at a national title, despite coach Jim Harbaugh bolting for the NFL's San Francisco 49ers.

Luck, named to numerous All-American teams and winner of a handful of postseason awards, heads into the Fiesta Bowl for No. 4 Stanford having thrown for 35 touchdowns and 3,170 yards with a completion percentage of 70 percent and a QB rating of 167.5.

"It's all the same," Shaw said. "This is what the season has led up to. We wanted to play in a BCS bowl game and play one of the top teams in the nation. It was always Andrew's goal to be in a big-time ballgame with his teammates. This is where we wanted to end up."

For anybody convinced the program will take a serious blow as soon as Luck leaves, he insists otherwise.

"I think we've had very good recruiting classes come in, probably better than us," Luck said, chuckling. "I guess we'll see. I know they've had higher ratings and grades and all those things. Hopefully we've been able to bring in good guys and hopefully the legacy will continue long after we're gone."

Shaw said he's been doing some research lately to find out how many schools can say they've finished in the top five in football and the top five in education.

"There can't be that many," he said.

Shaw, Luck and the rest of the team received a rousing ovation during a first-half timeout while attending the Stanford women's basketball showdown against Tennessee.

Shaw has to hope there will be another ovation for his team at the Fiesta Bowl.

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