Well, it's no secret how Stanford's star head coach feels about Stanford's star quarterback. After Luck dominated his way to offensive Pac-10 player of the week, that bromance grew even larger. Sample these quotes.
"He's the straw that stirs the drink," said Harbaugh, referencing baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson's famous words from an interview in 1977.
"He played a heck of a game, he played a tremendous game. Some of the throws he made, some really tight, tight areas, those are big-league type of throws," said Harbaugh, Stanford's fourth-year head coach. "It's very NFL-like the way he executes out there on the field."
"It's Peyton Manning-like," said Harbaugh. "He's remarkable."
ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit said that Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck "…is the closest thing to Peyton Manning at the college level when looking at his complete command of the offense".
Well now. If he's Peyton Manning at the college level, does that mean he can be Peyton Manning at the pro level?
There's no denying Luck's intelligence, his reads, his ability to make big throws and shred opposing defenses.
Brian Galliford, with supplementary analysis from Dan Kadar of Mocking the Draft, broke Luck's game down for the mothership.
Luck has exhibited exemplary development in this area in his two years at Stanford. We can't define it for you; they're called "intangibles" for a reason. When you watch Luck play - if you haven't yet, you really should - pay attention to little things like pre-snap reads and how he handles pressure in the pocket. These are the marks of a quarterback that is not only talented, but is what a lot of his peers are not: good at playing football. It sounds simple enough, but it truly is hard to find.
"Go ahead and watch Luck under pressure," says Kadar. "He steps up into it. There is chaos around him, but Luck effortlessly steps up into the pocket and delivers. Being cool under pressure lets Luck have the vision to fit the football into tight windows. Being confident enough to step into the pocket has also allowed Luck to really step into his throws and put zip on the ball.
"Compare him to Florida State's Christian Ponder, for instance. Ponder doesn't step into his throws and they flutter. Luck drives the ball with a tight spiral."
The point here is this: most collegiate quarterbacks have either raw talent or a good mix of intangibles. Rarely do you see players with both; when you do, those quarterbacks are selected very early, and not all of them pan out. Luck is different as a prospect because not only does he possess talent and intangibles, but he has developed to a point where his intangibles make him a much better player than his talent might dictate. That progression, if you're lucky, happens early in a professional career. Luck's not done turning that corner by any means, but the fact that he's started is what sets him apart as a prospect. You'll hear people gush about him beyond this article for that very reason: for such a young player, his development truly is remarkable.
Yep. Sounds like the things we said about Peyton Manning coming out of college.