Heisman or not, Luck's legacy at Stanford sealed

By Antonio Gonzalez

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 6 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

STANFORD, Calif. — Andrew Luck has been a little worried lately.

About the outcome of the Heisman Trophy race or what NFL franchise might select him with the No. 1 overall pick perhaps? No, Luck has other priorities at the moment.

Stanford's standout quarterback walked into his academic adviser's office last week concerned about an architecture studio session. He'll need to complete the work to earn his degree in the spring, and Luck seemed nervous that his busy schedule might interfere.

"He asked, 'Could you let the instructor know I'm going to have to miss a weekend for an OTA or minicamp?'" said John Barton, director of the Architectural Design Program at Stanford. "It's 20 weeks out, and he's already thinking ahead. He's already thinking about how his obligations to sports are going to affect his obligations for class. And it's a weekend for crying out loud. He's probably not even going to have to miss a class."

Typical Luck.

The most sought-after NFL prospect in more than a decade is traveling to New York again this week, joining Alabama's Trent Richardson, Baylor's Robert Griffin III, Wisconsin's Montee Ball and LSU's Tyrann Mathieu as Heisman Trophy finalists. While Luck wants to bring the award back to his beloved university after being the runner-up to Auburn's Cam Newton last year, he isn't losing any sleep about the results.

Heisman or not, Luck's legacy at Stanford is sealed.

Those around the Silicon Valley campus who know Luck best believe his Heisman status shouldn't be in question, either. After four seasons at the prestigious university, they'll remember Luck as the person and player who lifted the football program to new heights, a quarterback who called his own plays, a spectacular student, friend, teammate, roommate, brother and ambassador.

Mike Gleeson has watched every Stanford practice and game for 19 years, breaking down each to the core. As the program's video coordinator, Gleeson has shot and sliced countless hours of football.

He has never seen anybody like Luck.

"Andrew has a way of almost every single practice making me chuckle, sometimes out loud, of the ridiculousness," Gleeson said. "He will do stuff that you just shouldn't be able to do, and he does it. And it just makes me laugh because we're so spoiled. When the ball hits the ground, 98 percent of the time the receiver drops it. It wasn't a bad throw. He's not perfect, but you get used to seeing things in a pattern."

Even with all the incredible plays Gleeson has witnessed, the moment he remembers most about Luck has little to do with football. During his redshirt freshman season in 2009, Luck asked that the weekly team highlight film shown Friday nights before games be changed.

"Andrew just said, 'Hey, I don't like to be featured so much in the videos. Put the older guys, the seniors, they deserve it more,'" Gleeson said. "He's just very, very humble. He doesn't like the attention. He doesn't enjoy it. But he does it and he embraces it because he loves this university and he's proud of us. He'd prefer to work hard, do his job and be like everybody else."

Luck never has craved the spotlight.

With the awards circuit hitting the stretch run, Stanford coach David Shaw called Luck into his office, asking the quarterback to finally stop downplaying his role. And Shaw practically apologized to Luck for the program putting on a media blitz for his Heisman campaign.

"I told him, 'Andrew, over the next week, we're going to talk about you a lot, and you're going to hate every minute. Don't pay attention,'" Shaw said. "But this is necessary. And the best thing is, none of it is fabricated."

Shaw has too many memories from Luck to pinpoint just one.

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