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What Can Andrew Luck Learn From Jake Locker Not Leaving School Early For The NFL Draft?

During the broadcast of Stanford's 42-17 win against Arizona yesterday, ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit said that Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck "…is the closest thing to Peyton Manning at the college level when looking at his complete command of the offense".

Without debating whether that's accurate, it's clear that a high NFL draft pick is not too far from reach for Luck and people are starting to speculate about whether Luck should leave college early is on the horizon.

For Washington Huskies fans, that might take us back a year ago when similar speculation was occurring about quarterback Jake Locker. Although ESPN.com's Todd McShay suggests that "Jake Locker's nightmarish senior season has little to do with Andrew Luck's rise to the top of our 2011 NFL draft quarterback board," former Stanford women's basketball player Angela Taylor suggests that perhaps Luck should heed the same advice that Locker took from his father a year ago.

Better "Luck" Next Time!! " AT's Blog – From A to T
From a distance, Luck seems like someone who is able to truly enjoy his college experience because he is confident that he will be playing on Sundays for a long time to come. He is not consumed with the uncertainty that fuels some but instead is engaged in the here and now. Last winter Jake Locker was told by his father, "…make the decision that you won’t regret for the rest of your life." Locker took those words of wisdom and went on to return for another year in Seattle. His final year in the Pac-10 hasn’t been one we all expected due to injuries and a lackluster performance by the Huskies, but I am pretty sure that Locker will never regret returning to campus to spend time enjoying life as a college student.

Like many, we would go back to my college days in a minute. To a certain extent, those were the best four years of our life where we made many lifelong friends. While Andrew can always return to campus, he won’t get these years back.

As Taylor describes, both Locker and previously Sam Bradford chose school when faced with this decision and there are certainly a number of individual factors that influence that decision uniquely for each player. After laying out those factors, Taylor's meditation doesn't necessarily conclude with a hard judgment on whether the decision to leave early is right or wrong and, honestly, I don't believe it's possible to come to an objective value judgment anyway - college is fun, but when you're as talented as Luck the pros of leaving definitely seem to outweigh the cons...so much so that you have to have enormous respect for a player that would choose to pass that up for one more year of college.