Andrew Luck Returns: Did He Learn Nothing From Jake Locker?

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent IJanuary 6, 2011

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 03: (L-R) Quarterback Andrew Luck #12 and head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Stanford Cardinal celebrate with the trophy on stage after Stanford won 40-12 against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2011 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

Andrew Luck announced that he’ll return to Stanford for his junior season, shocking the sports world, as he was projected as the No. 1 pick in April’s NFL draft.

Luck’s decision to return to Stanford comes as a surprise to many because of the known risks involved with an added year’s worth of bumps, bruises and the possibility of poor play and serious injury.

While the decision to return to school and complete his degree in architectural design certainly has its benefits, the risks involved, which include the potential loss of millions of dollars, take the cake.

Luck, who led Stanford to a 12-1 record and an Orange Bowl victory, needs to look no further than one of his Pac-10 rivals: Jake Locker.

Locker opted to return to school after a spectacular junior season and faltered quite a bit as a senior. Still expected to be a first or second round selection, Locker was perhaps the top-ranked quarterback in last year’s draft. Had he entered the draft, Locker would have received a contract similar to that of Bradford’s recent $50 million deal.

Now, Locker will be lucky to become a late first-round selection, although the departure of Luck from draft boards will undoubtedly help the Washington quarterback.

And that leaves Luck heading back to Stanford as the likely No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, forfeiting millions and risking injury, poor play and worse.

With the future of Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh still up in the air, it’s worth wondering whether or not Luck knows something we don’t. If Luck opted to return, where does that leave Harbaugh?

We’ll have to wait and see for the answer to that question. One thing’s for certain: Andrew Luck is returning to school next year with the hopes of improving and finishing his degree before heading off to the NFL. Let’s just hope he continues this string of success and doesn’t falter similarly to Locker.