ESPNHS Alumnus: Andrew Luck

Andrew Luck was the Elite 11 MVP runner-up to Blaine Gabbert in the summer of 2007. Tom Hauck/ESPNHS

After a stellar sophomore season in 2010 in which he led Stanford to a top five national ranking and Orange Bowl victory, quarterback Andrew Luck entered the 2011 season as the most highly-regarded college signal caller in NFL Draft circles since at least Peyton Manning in 1998. So far this fall the 6-4, 235 pound redshirt-junior has done nothing to dispel that reputation, leading Stanford to a 5-0 start. The son of former West Virginia and NFL quarterback Oliver Luck, Andrew had his top game of the season to this point this past Saturday, completing 26-of-33 passes for 370 yards and three touchdowns as Stanford drilled Colorado 48-7. On the year so far, Luck is completing 73.1% of his passes for 1,383 yards and 14 touchdowns with just two interceptions, and has Stanford up to No. 5 in the latest coaches' poll. Today we take a look back at Luck when he was in high school with an ESPNHS Alumnus of the Week feature.

Andrew Luck was a three-year starter at Stratford High School in Houston, assuming the starting role as a sophomore in 2005 and holding his own at one of the largest high schools in Texas, earning all-district honors as he completed 116 of 229 passes for 1,529 yards and seven TDs while also rushing for 700 yards. Following his sophomore season, Luck attended a Nike Combine in Houston and flashed some of the underrated athleticism that has scouts now drooling over his upside, posting a 35.5-inch vertical jump and 4.48 shuttle at the event.

The next fall as a junior, Luck really came into his own, earning District 19-5A MVP honors as he threw for 2,926 yards and 27 TDs on 176 of 257 passing while rushing for 714 yards and 10 scores, leading Stratford to a 10-2 record. Houston, Baylor and Nebraska were the first to step up with scholarship offers for Luck during the fall of his junior season, and by January of 2007, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Kansas State, Purdue, Northwestern and Duke had also all entered the race.

Luck attended the TCU Elite 11 QB regional camp that April, and after a strong showing at the event, he was the first QB in the Class of 2008 invited to the Elite 11 finals. One of few prospects to ever truly act on words that academics were important to him, Luck showed just how important school was to him when he cut his list to five in early-June, eliminating some national powers like LSU and Nebraska in favor of Purdue, Northwestern, Stanford, Virginia, and Rice. Luck announced Stanford as his choice shortly thereafter on June 30th.

At the Elite 11 finals that July, Luck had a strong showing alongside the other competitors, which included now Jacksonville Jaguar Blaine Gabbert as well as Mike Glennon (NC State), Jacory Harris (Miami), Landry Jones (Oklahoma), E.J. Manuel (FSU), Sean Renfree (Duke) and former Clemson starter and now minor league baseball player Kyle Parker. He was ranked by the college counselors as the runner-up to Gabbert as the MVP of the finals, showing many of the same attributes that have now made him one of college football's most celebrated prospects - intelligence, accuracy, arm strength and the focus and drive to be great and not let outside elements distract or deter him.

Luck led Stratford to a 9-4 mark as senior that fall, completing 196 of 338 passes for 2,684 yards and 19 TDs while rushing for 671 yards and 14 scores, earning second team all-state and various All-American honors and playing in the Army All-American Bowl.

Before signing with the Cardinal, Luck was ranked as high as the No. 4 quarterback in the nation and No. 47 player overall by Scout.com, the No. 4 pro-style QB and No. 68 overall player nationally by Rivals.com, and the No. 7 QB and No. 61 player overall by ESPN Recruiting. He served as the valedictorian of Stratford's graduating class of 2008. Former Ohio State and now Oakland Raider rookie QB Terrelle Pryor was the consensus No. 1 overall player and QB in the Class of 2008.