After reading the Sports Illustrated article on Andrew Luck's career both on the football field as well as in the class room I started to wonder if it will be almost unfair to have Luck is on the football field. The red shirt sophomore torched defense's throwing the ball, could duck his head and run and also forced an amazing turnover when he lit up a USC safety who had picked up a fumble. He was the essence of a Pro Style Quarterback and a quarterback that could turn around a franchise. Instead the sophomore decided to stay another year in Palo Alto and pursue his academic and athletic accomplishments. The 6-4 235 quarterback will be the face of College Football in 2011, but will he be able to repeat his amazing 2010 season after losing his Head Coach?
If Cam Newton hadn't ran and passed through, over, and around defenders in the SEC then Luck would have walked out of Times Square in December with a Heisman Trophy. The quarterback carried the Cardinal to an 12-1 season, a top 5 ranking and an dominating 40-12 Orange Bowl win over ACC Champs Virginia Tech. Luck's numbers were outstanding last season with 3,338 passing yards, 32 touchdowns only 8 interception while completing 71% of his passes. Luck also scampered for 453 yards and 3 TD's in the season. Unbelievable numbers for a player without much support on the receiving end.
Luck looked like Peyton Manning during his spring practices, hitting receivers in stride while off balanced, being rushed and being taken down all while control every facet of the game. I have a few reasons why Luck will continue to improve his stats and continue to keep Stanford at the top of the College Football world this season despite the loss of mentor and coach Jim Harbaugh.
Jim Harbaugh was the heart and soul behind Stanford's change from a 1-11 team to a 12-1 team in four years and was the man that brought Luck to Palo Alto from Houston, Texas. Harbaugh, now a couple miles away from Stanford in San Francisco, was the man also behind the success of Andrew Luck but he was also helped. The man that lead the Cardinal offense was David Shaw, who replaced Harbaugh as Stanford's Head Coach in January. Keeping Shaw as Head Coach means that they keep the offense that Luck has thrived in the last few seasons. Now Luck just needs to find his receiving core..
Luck lost his top two receiving targets from last season but Stanford brings in an huge amount of talent from the last two season of recruiting and 1,000 yard rusher Stephan Taylor in the backfield. Luck's main targets will most likely be Chris Owusu, who was injured for half of last season, and Tight End Coby Fleener ,who caught 7 TD passes last season. The other receiver who need to step up and help out Luck is his room mate Griff Whalen. Overall Luck will have strong Tight Ends and some speedy running backs coming out of the backfield but will need his receivers to step up big time this season.
Luck will have to carry the Cardinal again this season and should lead them to another BCS Bowl game and if all goes well he will hopefully walk out of the season with a National Title and a Heisman Trophy. We'll see how Luck does throughout the season with all the pressure that will be thrown at him and all the complex zones he will have to decipher. I still believe that Luck will overcome the loss of his coach and all these struggles to repeat, if not exceed his 2010 season.
Andrew Luck Highlights