By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck made a quick, though very unlikely hasty, decision concerning his future. The Heisman Trophy runner-up announced Thursday morning he intends to remain at Stanford for at least another year.
"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 the school.
He was not made available to the media for comment at his own request.
The Stanford Athletic Department originally announced the decision through Twitter, ending speculation Luck would be the NFL's overall No. 1 pick this year. Bobby Garrett, Jim Plunkett and John Elway were the former Stanford quarterbacks picked as the overall first pick in the NFL draft.
The great Frankie Albert and John Brodie were also first round picks and both played for the San Francisco 49ers.
Luck threw for 284 yards on 18-of-23 passing as the Cardinal (12-1) won its first BCS bowl game in school history Monday night, a 40-12 victory over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.
Luck was named the game's MVP after throwing four touchdown passes, three to tight end Coby Fleener.
Pete Thamel of the New York Times sent out this tweet: "Andrew Luck told me this summer that graduating from Stanford meant a lot to him. I joked he sounded like a PSA. Now he is one."
Luck threw for 3,338 yards and 32 touchdowns this season. He completed nearly 71 percent of his passes and earned an efficiency rating of 170.2 (average is 100).
In related news, Stanford wide receiver Ryan Whalen accepted an invitation to play in the 86th East-West Shrine Game, to be held on Jan. 22 at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
Whalen, an honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection this season, finished his senior campaign with 41 receptions for 439 yards and two touchdowns to rank as Stanford's second leading receiver. He finished his collegiate career with 140 receptions for 1,184 yards and seven touchdowns.
In other news Thursday, fourth-year junior linebacker Thomas Keiser has informed the Stanford football program he intends to forgo his final year of eligibility in order to enter the NFL Draft.
Keiser, a native of Wexford, Pa., started all 13 games for the Cardinal and finished the 2010 campaign with 38 total tackles, including 9.0 sacks. A two-year starter, he recorded 109 total tackles, including 19.5 sacks among his 31.0 tackles-for-loss, in 38 career games (28 starts).
Keiser, redshirted the 2007 season as a true freshman and had one year of eligibility remaining. Though Keiser will leave Stanford for winter quarter to prepare for the scouting combine, he plans to return to school for the spring quarter, according to the Stanford Daily, and will need only one more quarter after that to complete his degree.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT ANDREW LUCK'S RETURN TO STANFORD
"People are criticizing him for turning down the money, but I admire and understand his decision. It's hard to put a price on your senior year of college (especially if you're Andrew Luck), and it's hard to walk away from a chance to win the Heisman and maybe even a national championship. He's a talented guy, and so long as he doesn't suffer a debilitating injury he'll make plenty of money and have tons of success in the pros, so why not stick around and stay in college one more year? Definitely makes my decision of whether or not to study abroad fall quarter a much more difficult one." -- Michael Lussier (Stanford '13)
"I would have personally gone to the NFL and taken the money, but it's awesome that he's staying. With him back we have a legitimate chance at a national championship next year. And it's gonna help recruiting a ton too -- who wouldn't want to come to the school with a No. 4 (national) finish and a Heisman favorite QB? And the hottest coach in the country, assuming Harbaugh sticks around." -- Skyler Dougherty (Stanford '13)
"I think that Luck's decision to stay at Stanford will be both great for Stanford football, and for Luck as a person. It's really a reinforcement of Stanford's focus on academics that he will finish his degree and maintain his commitment to Stanford football. He is an extremely talented and smart guy, and we are so happy to have him for another year!" -- Taylor Thibodeaux (Stanford '11)
"This is a win-win for him. He gets to spend another year at Stanford, be part of team that will be highly ranked again next year, finish his degree and enjoy Palo Alto. It's not like the NFL is going anywhere, it's one of the best run leagues in the world. It will still be there when he graduates." -- Oliver Luck, Andrew's father
"Do you remember former NFL QB Charlie Johnson, came out of New Mexico St. U.? Well, Charlie played hard; but he studied even harder, earning a PHD in Chemical Engineering. And that's just what he told me when I asked him what was most important to him when he was playing in college, getting his PHD or playing in the NFL. He said young athletes should play hard, but should study even harder. He knew that a career in the NFL would not last forever, but that his PHD would always be there. Charlie Johnson now teaches at NMSU. Andy Luck has that same great outlook as regards to his future and I tip my hat to him. His stock in the NFL can only go up. And, with his degree, he won't have to worry what might happen to him when he's too old or hurt to go Hut!! Hut!!" -- Gabe Renzo, Dearborn Heights, Mich.
"Congrats to Stanford and Andrew Luck for his pursuit of his degree in Architecture. Great for college FB." -- Urban Meyer, Florida head coach
Note: For cheap entertainment, sign on to twitter and read the thousands of tweets regarding Luck's decision. Personally I couldn't stop laughing.