That could be seen as a shot at two of the other finalists. Auburn quarterback Cam Newton was briefly ruled ineligible after his father was accused of working with the owner of a scouting service to get up to $180,000 for his son to play for at Mississippi State.
Oregon running back LaMichael James was suspended for the season opener after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge against his ex-girlfriend.
“If I win the award, I hope it’s because of my merits on the field and nothing regarding anyone else’s off the field or anything like that,” Luck said.
Cardinal running back Toby Gerhart was beaten out by Alabama’s Mark Ingram last year in the closest vote ever. No school has had two different players finish second in the voting since Leroy Keyes and Mike Phipps did it for Purdue in 1968 and ‘69.
With Luck as a finalist, Stanford will join traditional football powers USC, Oklahoma, Miami, Ohio State, Florida State and Notre Dame as the only schools in the past 25 years to have different players finish in the top four in successive seasons.
What makes the feat even more remarkable is that it comes at a program that won just one game in 2006 and hasn’t won a bowl game since 1996.
“It speaks volumes for where this program is headed, where it is right now, what a great job coach Harbaugh has done and what great players are at Stanford right now,” Luck said.
While he downplays the personal accolades and is always first to give credit to the offensive line or his receivers, his teammates know better.
That’s why they’re enjoying every minute they have with him and never take for granted the greatness they see each day on the field.
“With Andrew you notice all of it because it’s just amazing,” Baldwin said. “The things Andrew does, you just don’t usually see those. Guys know that. You look on highlight film of the NFL and you don’t see the things Andrew does at the college level. We’re definitely in amazement, but we’re thankful to have him on our team.”