INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The secret is out.
Andrew Luck will be the Indianapolis Colts' new quarterback.
A person with direct knowledge of the situation said Thursday that the Colts have notified Luck that they plan to take the Stanford quarterback with the No. 1 pick in next week's NFL draft barring some unforeseen event between now and then. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not publicly disclosed its plan.
It's hardly a surprise that the Colts are turning to Luck as the cornerstone of their massive rebuilding project. Luck was projected as the No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft before returning to school for his fourth season. He gave up his final year of college eligibility to enter this year's draft, which was dubbed the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes from the start.
Contract negotiations are not expected to begin before the draft, the person familiar with the situation told the AP. Will Wilson, Luck's agent, did not immediately respond to phone messages or text messages Thursday.
"We've exhausted the process," new Indy general manager Ryan Grigson told reporters Wednesday. "We've pretty much made up our minds and we're going to go from there. We feel good about it and we'll go from there."
Grigson acknowledged that the Colts made their decision "a little while" ago, though he declined to say whether the Colts would take Luck or Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III of Baylor.
The secret lasted less than 24 hours. ESPN.com first reported that the Colts' had informed Luck they will take him. That would likely send Griffin to the Redskins, who traded a first- and second-round pick this year and first-rounders each of the next two years to St. Louis to move into the No. 2 slot.
Luck faces a challenging situation in Indy, which went 2-14 last season after Peyton Manning was lost with a season-ending injury that required neck surgery.
Manning was released March 7 and eventually signed with Denver, and Luck will now serve as Manning's successor.
He may get off to a rough start through no fault of his own.
"I believe Andrew may struggle early simply because of the surrounding cast playing with him," said Colts former vice chairman Bill Polian, acknowledging both rookies will have their share of problems in 2012. "It was nowhere near where Peyton's was, and he went 3-13. I think Andrew will struggle more because of the receivers around him. Only Reggie (Wayne) and Austin (Collie) are back."
Still, Luck was the obvious choice as Manning's successor all along.
A pro-style pocket quarterback, Luck threw for 35 touchdowns last season — breaking his school record of 32 a year ago — and eclipsed John Elway's career record (77) at Stanford with 80 touchdown passes in only three years.