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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Andrew Luck Made the Right Call Staying at Stanford, Might Jim Harbaugh Follow?

Stanford sophomore quarterback Andrew Luck announced Thursday that he will stay at Stanford for junior season and pass on being the likely top overall pick in this April’s NFL Draft. Though Luck is returning for his junior year athletically, it will be his senior year academically; he will walk graduate with a degree in Architectural Engineering. In this day and age with a society that increasingly values the scheckle over the scruple, many fans — especially in Carolina — are calling Luck’s decision stupid. Before too many people crucify him for his decision, let’s examine the reasons behind his decision.

It’s become a trend for elite college quarterbacks to pass up the draft in favor of school. Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford, and Matt Leinart all returned for an extra season with Leinart and Bradford likely passing up the top overall pick. This precedent has proven to work for many QBs, Bradford in particular.  At Oklahoma, Bradford was fresh off a Heisman win and a spot in the National Championship Game. Rather than leave and be (presumably) the number one pick in the 2009 draft, Bradford stayed, got hurt, and missed the whole season. Talk about worse-case scenarios: stay in college, get hurt, still get taken number one, and get paid accordingly. If Luck simply stays healthy and doesn’t have a Jake Locker-type disaster of a year, he will remain on top of team’s draft boards, this time armed with a degree from Stanford and possibly a Heisman Trophy.

Another side effect of Luck’s decision is the impact it could have on Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh. Though Harbaugh is one of the most highly sought after coaches by NFL teams, Luck’s decision could sway him to remain at Stanford for another year. It’s possible that Harbaugh badly wants a national title but thought he couldn’t do it without his stud All-American in the pocket. If so, Luck might have outsmarted his own coach and enticed him to stay for another year. After all, the NFL will always be there for someone as smart and qualified as Jim Harbaugh.

Another likely factor in Luck’s decision to return to school is the uncertainty regarding an upcoming NFL season. With a lockout looming and concerns about the owners and players agreeing on a new collective bargaining agreement, Luck can go back to school where his future is more set: classes, football, Heisman, diploma. Additionally, say the league agrees on a new CBA, it’s possible Luck could head into the NFL season on an awful team and without training camp.

Given all this information and all the reasons why Luck returned to school, it’s hard to disagree with his decision. Don’t call Andrew Luck an idiot. After all, he does go to Stanford.

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