PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. — On the few occasions when ESPN decides to quit talking about Tim Tebow, the NFL subject matter of choice becomes Andrew Luck.
Stanford players will turn up the volume on the televisions in their locker room back in Palo Alto, Calif.
And Stanford's quarterback will turn them off.
Luck is doing his best to keep the hoopla at a minimum as he nears his final college game, the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma State on Monday night. His teammates are doing their part.
Those turned-up TVs? Luck's Cardinal teammates weren't interested in hearing. They were interested in busting their good pal, who has gone from incognito Stanford student to the most ballyhooed NFL prospect since Peyton Manning or John Elway, depending on which lovestruck scout you talk to.
“I don't live in a cave, so I hear things, watch and see things, whatever,” Luck said. “I think when you are surrounded by good teammates, if you get on a high horse, thinking about things you are not supposed to be thinking about, they did do a good job of keeping ourselves grounded.”
Luck doesn't live in a cave, but he does live on the Farm, as Stanford's campus is called, a haven of academia, largely void of athletic hero worship. Which means Luck is somewhat insulated from things like the NFL's fascination with a quarterback who has all the tools to be the league's next big star.
For instance, Luck knows about the Suck for Luck campaign — the Colts lost their first 13 games and appeared certain to secure the No. 1 pick of the draft. But Luck claimed Wednesday that he didn't even know that the Rams have slipped into contention for the pick.
“I didn't even know who the other team was,” Luck said. “Who knows if I will be the first pick or not? That's a lot of time until then. I don't really think about it.”
Luck is billed as a too-good-to-be-true NFL prospect. He comes across that way in person, too. Smart, pleasant, unassuming. Impressive guy. Very impressive.
“One of the best I've ever seen at gracefully handling being a media darling,” said Stanford tight end Coby Fleener.
Luck is comfortable talking football schemes or architecture (his major at Stanford).
When someone told him that greater Phoenix was a quasi-home to the late architecture legend Frank Lloyd Wright, Luck talked about Taliesin West, Wright's winter home in Scottsdale.
When asked about his interest in stadiums, he talked of traveling when his dad worked for NFL Europe and seeing old coliseums, like London's Highbury Park, and how he was interested in the different feels of various arenas.