- Associated Press - Friday, April 27, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Andrew Luck already has a pretty good idea of what to expect in his new NFL digs. He’ll be wearing a No. 12 jersey, getting used to a new set of teammates and dealing with all those comparisons to a high-profile quarterback.

Luck went through it at Stanford, and now he’ll go through the same thing in Indianapolis.

The Colts drafted Luck with the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday’s NFL draft, making him the official replacement for four-time MVP Peyton Manning. For the Colts, it seemed like pure Luck.

“The most exciting part is being a part of a new locker room, new guys, that’s really what I’m stoked about is getting to meet the guys,” Luck said. “It exceeded all expectations on all levels, from the energy, the excitement to the media circus afterward. It was way over the proportion that I expected it to be at, which was great. This is a big deal, I guess.”

It’s been a big deal in Indianapolis ever since the Colts went 0-13 before winning twice in December and nearly losing the draft’s top pick.

But the reward for being so bad was being fortunate enough to get a shot at what some scouts consider the next best thing to Manning: Luck.

Indianapolis didn’t hesitate. A week ago, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said the Colts had made up their minds about whether to take Heisman winner Robert Griffin III or Luck, the Heisman runner-up. The next day, The Associated Press learned Luck would be the selection and new general manager Ryan Grigson confirmed the decision Tuesday.

The Colts were so prepared to make the choice that they gave Goodell a No. 12 jersey with Luck’s name stitched on the back _ a number that had been worn by receiver Quan Cosby as recently as Thursday morning’s mini-camp workout.

“It’s a new era, it’s a new beginning,” Grigson said. “Really, it’s exciting and we got our guy. He’s the one we feel is going to take us where we want to go with this thing. He shares the same vision that we all do, so we’re excited.”

Fourteen years after taking Manning with the top overall selection and 29 years after using the draft’s No. 1 pick on another Stanford quarterback, John Elway, the Colts chose a player scouts have touted as the most NFL-ready quarterback to come out of college since those two.

What the Colts are actually getting is a younger, cheaper version of Manning.

The similarities are striking.

Both grew up with NFL-playing fathers, left their home states to attend college, returned for one more college season when the “experts” thought they should have jumped to the NFL and then finished as Heisman runner-ups. Now both have been taken No. 1 overall by the Colts, and strangely, they’ll even have the same tutors.

Bruce Arians was Manning’s first NFL quarterbacks coach and now he’s back as Indy’s offensive coordinator, and former Indy offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen is now the Colts quarterback coach.

“It is scary how similar it is,” Arians said Thursday after a morning mini-camp workout. “Their styles, their personalities, their styles as players, it’s all the same.”

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