Quarterback Andrew Luck is riding on cloud nine.
The Maxwell Club, the oldest football club in America, announced that the Stanford University star is the winner of the 75th Maxwell Award for the Collegiate Player of the Year.
During a stellar senior year Luck passed for over 3,500 yards and 37 touchdowns, quarterbacking the Stanford Cardinals to an 11-2 record and a berth in the BCS Fiesta Bowl.
While at the podium, Luck deflected any personal glory, citing four mentors who served as his source of inspiration and guiding light throughout his career.
“My father No. 1,” noted Luck. “He played football. He’s been in the sports business his whole life. He’s a great encyclopedia for me to fall back on. I think at Stanford, Tavita Pritchard. He was the quarterback before me. We played together my first year starting. He was a fifth year senior. He really helped me out a lot, just on how to act like a starting quarterback. Then Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw, the two head coaches at Stanford.”
The former Stanford standout addressed the possibility of replacing Peyton Manning in Indianapolis.
“I have had a chance to know the Manning family and they are great, unbelievable people,” said Luck. I understand people speculate, it’s part of the business and it’s part of the way the world works today. Whatever happens will happen for the best and I’m sure it’ll work out.”
Luck’s ties to the Mannings date back to his grade school days at their passing camp where he learned how to play the quarterback position from arguably the NFL’s greatest football family.
“As an eighth grader I was a camper, and the past two summers I was a counselor,” said Luck. “It was a great experience. The Mannings do such a great job of letting college quarterbacks get together and coach these kids and sort of congregate as a fraternity of quarterbacks, per se. It’s a great experience. They’re the nicest family.”
Fresh off an impressive showing at the NFL combine, Luck spoke about his approach and shared his thoughts on his first "pro" workout.
“It was a job interview being up there for the combine,” said Luck. “You’ve got to handle your business and I approached it as a business trip. You put the best foot forward and show the teams what [you] can do and hopefully make a favorable impression. It wasn’t hard to stay focused on the task at hand.”
“I think I put it all out there physically. Mentally and emotionally I tried to connect with as many teams as possible. No regrets.”
With Luck projected by NFL pundits to come off the draft board No. 1 overall, quarterback Robert Griffin of Baylor is hot on Luck’s heels. This follows a dazzling combine performance, one that even Luck admitted was extraordinary.
“He’s a great athlete, a great football player,” said Luck of Griffin. "On top of that, a great guy. I have had a chance to get to know him through some of the award ceremonies this year and he is easy to get along with. His performance, from what I saw, the physical stuff, the running and jumping, was very impressive.”
With Griffin and Luck headlining a robust NFL draft class, next month’s draft could be a landmark year for future franchise quarterbacks.
Rick Laughland covers the New York Jets for Greenandwhitereport.com
You can follow him on Twitter @rlaughland
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