When quarterback Andrew Luck committed to Stanford in June, the Houston (Tex.) Stratford signal caller gave the Cardinal a prized pledge from the #5 quarterback prospect in the nation, #5 recruit in the Southwest, top quarterback in Texas, and #63 overall prospect in the nation. This past week in San Antonio, Luck added U.S. Army All-American to that impressive list of accolades when he played for the West squad in the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Bowl at the Alamodome. Back home in Houston after a week of competition and fun with fellow All-Americans, Luck reports that he had a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
"It was a blast," he gushes. "I met a lot of great guys. I learned a lot of things about football. It was everything I thought it would be and more."
When the All-Americans were not participating in the myriad media and fan events, including a passing skills contest that Luck won, they engaged in five days of spirited and high-level competition in a series of practices in preparation for Saturday's showcase game. For recruits used to dominating high school competition in their local communities, the week provided the first real experience against college-level football.
"It was a lot of fun," the self-effacing Luck continued in describing the high level of play he experienced in playing with and against other high-profile recruits. "The speed, the pure speed that everybody had except me [laughs] was amazing. Going to practice was a challenge every day and I feel like I got better at it."
While the players shared the common bond of enjoying their first taste of playing against elite speed at every position, Luck's background as the son of former NFL quarterback Oliver Luck already gave him experience with sophisticated approaches to offensive football. Nonetheless, he describes his time in San Antonio as useful as an instructional experience.
"Definitely," he says of learning from the coaches. "You know, it's always good to be around as many coaches as you can to get as many different perspectives on offense and tempos. I just learned a lot."
The week of instruction and practice with other top recruits ultimately paid off for Luck in the form of extended national television exposure as he led multiple series for the West offense in a constant rotation with his fellow quarterbacks, Notre Dame commit Dayne Crist and Missouri commit Blaine Gabbert. He even got the West team in the end zone for the last time in the game with a 38-yard bomb to Notre Dame wide receiver commit Michael Floyd.
In addition to the robust physical competition among the standout seniors, the weekend provided ample opportunity for the recruits to socialize, talk football, and discuss their college destinations. As the only player at the game currently committed to Stanford, Luck could have felt relatively isolated compared to players headed to schools with crowds of fellow commits. Instead, Luck embraced the opportunity to make friends in San Antonio.
Now back home in Houston after the week of All-American festivities, Luck joins Stanford's other public commits in being able to wait out the final month before the National Letter of Intent signing day with the peace of mind of already being accepted to Stanford through the school's admissions process. An acclaimed scholar-athlete with recognition from multiple civic and school organizations, Luck had little to worry about. But, like others who have received the fat envelope from Stanford Admissions, he reports the excitement of learning about his acceptance.
"It was exciting and amazing at the same time," Luck relates of being accepted. "It felt good to finally see the long process pay off."
With the burden of the application process behind him and the date approaching to sign on the dotted line for Stanford, Luck can focus on enjoying the rest of his senior year of high school and looking ahead to college. Luck says he remains in contact with Stanford coaches and speaks most often with Linebackers Coach Andy Buh, his regional recruiter, but has not gone into any great detail with the coaches regarding their plans for him next year. For his part, the highly-touted quarterback claims an open mind regarding his future role on The Farm.
"I will do what the coaches tell me to do," Luck maintains. "I know I'm just an 18-year-old kid who doesn't know what college football is like. It will take time to learn. I will do what they tell me to do."
In contrast, Luck has allowed himself to contemplate the prospect of playing for Jim Harbaugh, a former NFL quarterback like Luck's father.
"It's very exciting," he says. "From the limited time that I've had with him, it's been an adventure. He's a very exciting, exuberant person. You can tell the players love playing for him and I'm very excited to go up there."
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