For a remarkable second straight year, the Stanford football team will have a finalist in the running for the Heisman Trophy.
Last season it was Toby Gerhart. This year it's quarterback Andrew Luck.
Luck, who led Stanford to an 11-1 record this season and a berth in the Discover Orange Bowl, has been named one of four finalists for the Heisman Trophy, which honors the nation's most outstanding college football player.
Luck joins Auburn's Cam Newton, Oregon's LaMichael James and Boise State's Kellen Moore as finalists for college football's top individual honor.
"It is a tremendous honor to be included with such outstanding players such as Cam Newton, LaMichael James and Kellen Moore as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy," said Luck. "I share this honor with every one of my teammates and the entire football staff at Stanford."
Luck and the three other finalists will be on hand for the presentation of the Heisman Trophy in New York City on Saturday, Dec. 11. The winner will be announced during a live televised special on ESPN beginning at 5 p.m. (PT).
Gerhart finished second in last year's Heisman Trophy race, 26 points behind Alabama's Mark Ingram in the closest voting in the 75 year history of the award.
Luck has quarterbacked Stanford to an 11-1 record and a No. 5 ranking in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches' Top 25 polls. He has completed 245-of-349 passes for 3,051 yards and a single-season record 28 touchdowns on the year.
Luck also leads the Pac-10 and ranks seventh nationally in passing efficiency at 166.10. He is one of four Stanford quarterbacks to throw for over 3,000 yards in a single-season, joining Steve Stenstrom (3,627; 1993), John Elway (3,242; 1982) and Todd Husak (3,092; 1998) as a member of Stanford's elite 3,000-yard club.
He is also on pace to set Stanford single-season records for passing efficiency and completion percentage (71.0).
"He's the best player I have ever been around," said Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh. "He's the best player, the most valuable player on one of the best team's in the country. He's thrown for a school record 28 touchdowns, which is incredible when you think about all of the great quarterbacks who have played at Stanford. He's really done it all. He's done everything a guy can do in one season."
One Stanford player has won the Heisman Trophy since its inception in 1935. Quarterback Jim Plunkett won the 1970 Heisman Trophy after he guided Stanford to a 9-3 record, which included a victory over Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. He garnered 510 of a possible 1,059 first place votes cast.
Other Stanford players who have finished in the top 10 in the balloting for the Heisman Trophy include Frankie Albert (3rd; 1940), Norman Standlee (9th; 1940), Bill McColl (4th; 1951), Bobby Garrett (5th; 1953), Guy Benjamin (7th; 1977), Darrin Nelson (6th; 1981), John Elway (2nd; 1982), Glyn Milburn (9th; 1992) and Gerhart (2nd; 2009).