Andrew Luck Will Return To Stanford Cardinal For His Junior Season, Not Swayed By Jim Harbaugh's Depature

By consensus, Stanford Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck is widely expected to be the number one draft pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. But he's not willing to go. Follow Rule of Tree for further discussion on the issue.

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Andrew Luck Not Swayed By Jim Harbaugh Departure, Will Remain At Stanford

Andrew Luck and Jim Harbaugh have always been tied together, so it's interesting that their final decisions seem like they're totally separate and have no relation to each other. Harbaugh is leaving his Heisman runner-up quarterback with the Stanford Cardinal to head onto coach the San Francisco 49ers, so a lot of speculation seems amidst that Luck will now reconsider his decision and declare for the 2011 NFL Draft.

According to Andrew's father, nothing has changed with regards to his son's decision. Oliver Luck, the current AD at West Virginia, told ESPN's Joe Schad there was zero chance that he would reconsider his decision. Apparently Luck really is genuine in his appreciation for his education and his desire to finish his degree before declaring for the NFL Draft, and Luck wasn't making his decision to try and convince Harbaugh to come back (Luck knew there was a good chance Harbaugh would be gone, according to his dad, and was prepared for that).

NFL bottom-dwellers, better start reviewing your tape of Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Mallett and Cam Newton. The quarterback you've been dreaming about is still a year away.

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Andrew Luck, Projected Number One Pick In 2011 NFL Draft, Returns To Stanford For Junior Season

The best quarterback in college football will remain the best quarterback in college football. Stanford Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck is returning for his third season, where he will probably throw a perfect season in the Pac-10. NFL scouts are going to have to wait another year to salivate over the signalcaller in Palo Alto, as he appears to be quite content in continuing to develop as a quarterback, regardless of whether Jim Harbaugh returns or not as his head coach.

This is an incredibly risky move for the Cardinal quarterback economically. Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports reports that if the NFL has its way in restructuring their rookie salary scale to match the NBA’s, Luck stands to lose as much as $63 million and $45 million guaranteed under the new collective bargaining agreement the league is negotiating.

It appears that Luck doesn’t seem to care about financial incentives though. Jon Wilner reports that Luck wants to graduate and earn his degree in architectural design before turning pro.

Wow. A student-athlete at the premier position in all of sports actually taking into account the student part of his college experience. Who would have thought.

Harbaugh was right about his quarterback deciding to come back. It remains to be seen if he’ll be there to lead him next year.

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Carolina Panthers Would Reportedly Pick Andrew Luck With First Pick In 2011 NFL Draft

If he declares his candidacy for the 2011 NFL Draft, Stanford Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck will almost certainly end up in one place next season: The Carolina Panthers, according to sources of ESPN’s Pat Yasinskas. In the biggest no-brainer since LeBron James was being coveted by a cadre of NBA bottomfeeders, the Panthers seem ready to take their chance on a quarterback who’s at the height of his powers after a magnificent Orange Bowl performance that cemented his reputation.

For awhile, it was difficult to figure out whether the Panthers were willing to part with the quarterback they took in last year’s draft, Jimmy Clausen. Clausen struggled this season, but his team sort of stunk, so it’s hard to imagine him having any sort of discernible impact.

Luck brings a far greater upside though, and his second half shredding of Virginia Tech probably did more than enough to elevate him as the best quarterback prospect out of college since Peyton Manning. Whether Luck will be willing to make the plunge into a thankless situation in Carolina remains to be seen—the prospect of returning to Stanford to complete his degree still weighs heavily on Luck’s mind. It seems his options are narrowing (in contrast to his head coach Jim Harbaugh, whose options seem to keep on opening up).

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Andrew Luck 2011 NFL Draft Watch: Jim Harbaugh Believes Luck Will Return To Stanford

There aren’t many reliable sources in the football world, but the following two guys get generally get good information. First, Todd McShay has said he’s heard from plenty of people close to the situation that Stanford Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck would like to return to Palo Alto and finish his junior season before declaring for the 2011 NFL Draft.

However, Peter King did McShay one better. He got Luck’s head coach to admit that his pupil was leaning toward one more year.

I said to Harbaugh Sunday that I’d heard the Luck family (his dad, Oliver Luck, is a former NFL quarterback) was concerned with the fact that drafted players, because of the prospect of a protracted work stoppage, might not even see their playbook or start practice ‘til Labor Day — or later. If that’s the case, why wouldn’t Luck stay for his fourth year at Stanford and play, whether Harbaugh (who is rumored to be a candidate for both pro and college head-coaching jobs after turning around the Cardinal) is there to coach him or not?

“I don’t think that’s the correct logic,‘’ Harbaugh told me from his home in northern California. "But I do think it’s more likely he’d come back. If I had to bet one way or the other, I’d bet he’s coming back. He loves college. He loves the college life. He’s such a good kid — and so smart. He’s got a 3.5 GPA in Architectural Engineering, and all along his plan has been to go to college for four years, get his degree, then figure out what to do with his life. This is a kid who has a plan. And he’s a kid who’s not the big-man-on-campus type. He just fits in.’’

Now, in a normal year, it wouldn’t make much sense for Luck to come back—he’s the de facto number one pick, and you should NEVER pass up on that opportunity to get a degree in anything—the door will always be open for Luck to return and complete his degree. The door isn’t always open on a starting NFL position, which he is almost assured of earning from day one the moment he’s drafted. The potential work stoppage and possible reduction of the rookie salary scale does throw a wrench into that conventional line of thinking.

On the other hand, Luck returning to Stanford would have its benefits. The Cardinal would immediately vault to the top of the national radar and be considered legitimate BCS title contenders, regardless of whether Harbaugh returned or not. He would likely be the best quarterback in the country—at the moment he’s well above the talent and intelligence level of junior guys like Ryan Mallett of Arkansas, Blaine Gabbert of Missouri, Nick Foles of Arizona. Even though it might not be the smartest financial decision, a gamer like Luck might recognize the benefits of spending one more year in the college ranks, It certainly sounds better than getting turned loose on a team like the Carolina Panthers, who are probably a ways from contending for anything.

Who knows what factors will eventually figure into Luck’s decision, but don’t expect it to be anything conventional.

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