Why did Andrew Luck stay at Stanford?

Jan 7, 2011, 4:53 PM | Updated: 4:54 pm

The most anticipated can’t miss quarterback prospect since the last can’t miss quarterback prospect, Andrew Luck, announced Thursday that he is returning to Stanford for his junior season and foregoing the NFL Draft. After the disappointment of NFL general managers and Carolina Panthers fans, and the anger of Pac-12 schools who will have to face him in 2011, subsided just one question remained. Why?

Oliver Luck, Andrew’s father and West Virginia athletic director, joined Sports 620 KTAR’s Doug and Wolf Friday to shed some light on the subject.

The proud father made it clear that Luck’s decision to remain in school was his son’s and that he made it for two distinct reasons.

“He has a real bond with the class that he came in with, his football classmates, his cohorts so to speak,” he said. “It was Jim Harbaugh’s first recruiting class there. Those guys committed to Stanford when Stanford was 1-11, which took a little bit of a leap of faith.

“He feels real tight with those guys and he felt like he had some unfinished business. He wanted to go out with his guys.”

Luck’s second reason was a simpler one that most people can understand.

“Second factor, and this may seem old school, he wanted to get a degree,” he said. “He went to college not just to play football, he loves playing football of course, but he went to college also to get a degree. Stanford’s a pretty rigorous academic institution. He seriously enjoys his course work.”

The quarterback prospect did get some help when making his decision from a few names who have gone through the process before. Names you may recognize.

“He got advice not just from his old man or his mom but from people like Peyton Manning, Eli and others who’ve gone through it,” he said. “That information and that advice of course is invaluable.”

Two things that many people speculated played into Luck’s decision to return to Palo Alto, a possible lockout and the team with the first pick in the draft, weren’t even a consideration according to his father.

“I was briefing Andrew on all this stuff and he looked at me and said ‘Dad, I don’t really care. It doesn’t really matter what happens with the professionals because I want to stay one more year in school’,” he said. “People have always asked me, or at least the last day or two, did he not want to go to Carolina? That’s not the case either. That didn’t matter. It could have been Carolina, it could have been the Pittsburgh Steelers. Those factors just didn’t factor into his decision process.”

When it was all said and done, the younger Luck had one thing that made his decision to remain in school feel right.

“At the end of the day he knew that the NFL was going to be there next year, or two years from now, or three years from now,” he said. “The league is so popular and if anything it’s only getting more popular. It’s really a decision not of ‘do I go to the NFL’ but ‘when do I go to the NFL’.”

Listen to Oliver Luck on with Doug and Wolf

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Why did Andrew Luck stay at Stanford?