STANFORD — Only hours before the commencement of Monday’s football practice, Stanford senior quarterback Andrew Luck heard the news.
It was news that, despite being expected by most, still thrilled the Cardinal’s leader.
“I think everybody wants to win [it],” Luck said after being named one of the five finalists for the Heisman Trophy. “No one wants to come in second, or third, or fourth.”
Second, however, is exactly where Luck finished in last year’s Heisman Trophy balloting, one spot behind winner Cam Newton of Auburn.
This year, the Cardinal quarterback, who is also projected to be the NFL’s top draft pick next season, is in the company of Wisconsin’s Montee Ball, Baylor’s Robert Griffin III, LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu and Alabama’s Trent Richardson for the most coveted individual award in college football.
Though not shy in admitting that winning the Heisman Trophy would be a special personal feat, Luck refuses to accept the bulk of the credit for Stanford’s 11-1 season and second consecutive Bowl Championship Series game.
“Any individual award in football, for a quarterback, I think is really a reflection of his team,” Luck said. “I think football is the ultimate team sport.
“Even though individual awards are a big part of it, they’re really a reflection of a guy being fortunate enough to be on a great team.”
Luck’s coach, however, takes a different approach.
“Andrew will never say it, but it would be great for him,” first-year Stanford coach David Shaw said. “There’s been nobody that’s meant more to their team, there’s been nobody that’s done as much in the last two years.”
It marks the third consecutive season Stanford has a representative among the Heisman finalists. Toby Gerhart finished second in 2009, while it’s been all about Luck the past two years.
Even Stanford’s former two-way player Owen Marecic finished 10th in Heisman balloting last season.
And before leading his No. 4 Cardinal against No. 3 Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona on Jan. 2, Luck will make a stop this Saturday at the Best Buy Theater in New York City for the televised Heisman Trophy presentation.
Finishing second ain’t bad. But if Luck would have it his way, he’d certainly finish first.