STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Andrew Luck has been traveling around enough the past few weeks. He’s going to spend Christmas in a hotel room near the Stanford campus instead of flying home to Houston.
Stanford’s record-setting sophomore quarterback and Heisman Trophy runner-up has crisscrossed the country since helping the Cardinal (11-1) set a school record for regular-season wins. He needs time to relax for a couple of days before making final preparations for Stanford’s first appearance in the Orange Bowl.
Most Cardinal players, who were given Dec. 25 and Dec. 26 off, depart from campus Monday. Those who live in the Eastern time zone will be allowed to join the team in South Florida.
Luck remains focused on the Jan. 3 game against Virginia Tech and hasn’t thought about much else, including his future NFL prospects.
“It (stinks) not being at home with family but there will be other Christmases,” Luck said Wednesday. “I decided to stay here. I’d rather relax.”
A little more than a week ago, Luck was in New York for the Heisman ceremonies. He’s also handled the Walter Camp Award ceremonies and is a finalist for the Manning Award, to be presented on Jan. 19.
He’ll spend the last week of his winter break in Miami. The Monday night game coincides with the first day of school, though plenty of Stanford students plan to skip the start of the semester for the trip to Miami.
“President (Dr. John) Hennessey sent a letter to all the professors about being lenient with the first two days,” Luck said. “There was a petition being circulated about giving students the two days off. I was already going to have the two days off, but what the heck, I signed it.”
Luck, an architectural engineering major, is famous for his studious ways. He reads nearly everything available on the quarterback position in particular and football in general. He breaks down game film like a coach and dissects the opposing team in detail.
“He’ll deny it but I think he has a photographic memory,” Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh said.
Cardinal wide receiver Doug Baldwin took it a step further.
“He’s one of the most phenomenal people I’ve met in my life,” Baldwin said. “Andrew notices all of it. In practice he can take a five-step drop and throw it 60 yards with ease. He makes it look easy.”
Luck had reasons of his own to celebrate Heisman weekend, and his favorite moment came when he learned two-way starter and teammate Owen Marecic had finished 10th in the voting. He couldn’t reach for his cell phone fast enough.
“He said, ‘Oh cool,’” Luck said. “I was more excited that he got so many votes than he was. But he’s a disciplined guy and he takes care of his body perfectly. He has to because he takes so much punishment in practice and games.”
Marecic is one of three finalists for the Paul Hornung Award, presented to the nation’s most versatile football player. He was a finalist for the Campbell Award and received three first-place votes for the Heisman Trophy.
“How cool is that?” Harbaugh said. “People understood this was not a publicity stunt. It was real. People who understand football knew what was taking place. He played middle linebacker and fullback, the two most physical positions on the field.”
The Orange Bowl committee has set up several activities for Stanford. Harbaugh said the team will attend a Warriors-Heat game, spend two nights at the movies (Luck voted for ‘True Grit’), a dinner in South Beach and a day at the beach.
“Other than that we’ll be getting ready for a football game,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll be doing that in South Florida instead of Palo Alto.”