Posted on: February 23, 2012 7:54 pm

Harbaugh on Luck: 'He's got all the qualities'

Breaking news: Jim Harbaugh loves Andrew Luck. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- There's a weird bit of symmetry going on in Indy for 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. He spent Wednesday night sitting on the bench with his brother-in-law, Indiana Hoosiers coach Tom Crean, and several of Harbaugh's former players at Stanford are prominent prospects for the 2012 NFL Draft.

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Perhaps you've heard of one of them: Andrew Luck. Luck is, according to what one scout told Mike Freeman, "almost the perfect prospect." While Harbaugh wasn't quite as effusive with his praise of Luck, he's clearly enamored with the former Stanford quarterback.

"You ever play spades?" Harbaugh asked a confused-looking crowd of reporters. "It's a trump game? He's holding a lot of aces in a lot of suits."

Harbaugh, in case you're wondering, is having fun this week. He continued to have fun with the media, bantering back and forth with a group of reporters "looking for bullet points" about his former pupil.

"He's got all the qualities, really, mentally, physically," Harbaugh said. "He's really good? How about that one? He's got a lot of talent."

Hooray for platitudes! But, no, seriously, Jim. People are putting a lot of pressure on Luck, who's been deemed the best thing since Peyton Manning supplanted sliced bread (and Harbaugh himself, actually) as the greatest thing on the planet. Is it fair?

"Fair or unfair, it's the nature of the business," Harbaugh said. "And he's very equipped to deal with. He's very mature."

Luck's definitely mature. We spoke to him at the Super Bowl and even in a few minutes, it's clear just how measured he is in his responses, without being contrite in the slightest. That doesn't make his task -- which is almost certainly going to be "filling Peyton's shoes" -- any easier. But if anyone's going to be able to do it, it's Luck.

Just ask Jim Harbaugh. Or don't.

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Posted on: December 8, 2011 12:31 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 3:47 pm

OK State WR Justin Blackmon NFL bound

By Will Brinson

Andrew Luck, CBSSports.com's No. 1 overall prospect in the draft, already said he's "absolutely" ready for the NFL and looks primed to enter the draft, regardless of how the Heisman Trophy ceremony plays out.

And another top prospect is NFL-bound as well: Justin Blackmon, the top-ranked wide receiver (and No. 7 overall prospect) on NFLDraftScout.com's big board, is a different story.

Blackmon told ESPN on Wednesday that he intends to declare for the draft following Oklahoma State's appearance against Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl.

"I'm pretty sure that it will be [my last game)," Blackmon said. "I think it's just time. It's that time to go. I came back last year to win a Big 12 championship, set us up for a BCS bowl and I think we did that."

Blackmon's decision, provided the Rams continue their spiral back into putridity, is probably a good one. Both St. Louis and Cleveland (as my colleague Ryan Wilson noted last night) look like teams with high picks that need a playmaker at wide receiver.

In Rang's latest mock draft, Blackmon's currently slated to go off the board No. 2 overall to St. Louis.

It's scary that we're already at the point of the season (Week 14 and beyond) where the NFL Draft starts to come into focus, because that means the actual football season is wrapping up. But we're here, and we're starting to get some idea of what prospects will be leaving college football to make their way into the pros.

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Posted on: November 3, 2011 11:06 pm

Luck's dad also thinks 'Suck for Luck' is stupid

Posted by Will Brinson

Not everyone believes that Andrew Luck is a stone-cold lock as an NFL stud, the general consensus is that the Stanford quarterback will be pretty, pretty good in the NFL. (Though I'd still rather have a certain Carolina quarterback myself.)

The possibility of him being a franchise-changing quarterback's inspire several fanbases to fire up a "Suck for Luck" campaign. Luck himself recently called the idea "stupid." His father, West Virginia Athletic Director Oliver Luck (seen right, as a member of the Houston Oilers), agrees with him.

"I played for five years in the NFL, and I never have seen an NFL player take a play off," Luck's father said on SiriusXM's Mad Dog Radio Thursday. "Because these guys are playing for their livelihoods and the coaches are coaching for their livelihoods, I absolutely think it is stupid that fans would believe that a team intentionally loses a game."

The Luck family isn't the only group of people who can't stand the social media campaign, but they're certainly the group most directly effected by it.

Luck came back to school in order to make a run at a BCS Championship and enjoy what is likely his final season as a star quarterback on a college campus.

He's obviously having a great run at Stanford, but there's an exceedingly ridiculous amount of discussion (yeah, I'm guilty too, but whatever) about where Luck will go, who will get him, and how he'll play once he gets to the NFL ... if it even happens next year.

All of that is combining to put a ridiculous set of expectations on young Andrew, and his father -- wisely -- understands that trying to mitigate those expectations will only make things easier for his son as he progresses to the NFL.

Also, he correctly knows that NFL players -- professional football players -- don't tank for some rookie, regardless of who he's compared to. So there's that.

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Posted on: January 10, 2011 11:17 pm

Fangio, Manusky in mix for Cowboys DC job

Posted by Will Brinson

Greg Manusky, a potential head-coaching candidate with several teams including the Panthers, is likely done with the 49ers. Vic Fangio, Stanford's defensive coordinator, was presumed a strong candidate to replace him (because of the Jim Harbaugh connection, obviously) in San Fran.

However, it turns out both gentlemen might have an opportunity in Dallas. Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas reports that Fangio is speaking to the Cowboys about the defensive coordinator position there and Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports that Manusky informed reporters he'll be interviewing with Dallas on Wednesday for the DC gig.

Fangio's was a defensive coordinator in the NFL for a long time, running Carolina's defense from 1995-98, Indy's D from 1999-2001, and the Texans D from 2002-05 (yes, he's boys with Dom Capers, why do you ask?). Then he was with the Ravens from 2006-09, when they had a decent defense.

Manusky engineered a 49ers defense that ranked fourth in yards allowed in 2009 (and fifth in points allowed then as well) and 16th in yards allowed in 2010. Most impressively, perhaps, the Niners ranked sixth in rush yards allowed both those years and third and second in yards per rush during that time, respectively.

Paul Pasqualoni, who took over the defensive coordinator position when Jason Garrett ascended to interim head coach, is also in the mix for the full-time position next season.

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Posted on: January 6, 2011 2:37 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2011 3:00 pm

Andrew Luck to remain at Stanford

Posted by Will Brinson

Andrew Luck was a lock with the No. 1 overall pick to the Carolina Panthers. One problem: he had to leave school first, and it turns out he's not going to do that.

Stanford announced on Thursday afternoon that the redshirt sophomore would remain in school for the next season.

"I'm committed to earning my degree in architectural design and am on track to accomplish this at the completion of the spring of '12," Luck said via the school.

This raises all sorts of questions involving the future of Jim Harbaugh as a coach, the future of the Carolina Panthers at quarterback, and how it will shake up the NFL Draft.

People will question how much Luck is sacrificing by staying in school, but Sam Bradford did the same thing two years ago, and things worked out fairly well for him. Additionally, the labor situation creates a rather nasty little problem for potential draftees. If Luck were picked by the Panthers, he wouldn't see one dime of money until a new collective bargaining agreement was reached. Is that guaranteed to be handled by even the beginning of next season? Of course not. That would also mean that Luck might not see the football field until a few weeks before the season begins.

The Panthers reportedly would take Luck first overall, but that's not a guarantee either, which means that a big-time trade up into the top spot could land the quarterback in an entirely untenable situation, depending on who acquired the pick.

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Posted on: December 26, 2010 9:18 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2010 10:05 pm

Tebow helps Panthers clinch No. 1 draft pick

Posted by Will Brinson

The Carolina Panthers are on the clock for the 2011 NFL Draft. And so are the New England Patriots (at least on the second day anyway -- the Panthers sent their second-rounder to New England in exchange for the wonderful shot at turning Armanti Edwards from a FCS quarterback into an NFL wide receiver).

That's because Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos stormed back on the Houston Texans and pulled off a semi-miraculous comeback to win 24-23. The Broncos needed to lose out and have the Panthers beat the Falcons in order to "win" the top overall pick.

This means the next meaningful deadline for Panthers fans becomes January 15th, when Carolina will learn whether or not Andrew Luck, the highly coveted junior quarterback at Stanford, declares for the NFL draft.

The ramifications of his decision are pretty widespread. If Luck enters the draft, the Panthers have to decide if they like Jimmy Clausen enough to pass up the chance to pull the trigger on Luck (and, perhaps, a combo of Luck and current Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh). They could also choose to trade the chance at grabbing the potential franchise QB, as there are plenty of teams that might be interested in moving up in the draft.

But maybe Luck won't even go pro -- Peter King of Sports Illustrated and Football Night in America reports that, having talked to Harbaugh, "academics are important to Luck" and Harbaugh doesn't believe the junior will leave early. (Although a quick purview of any basic mathematics class will inform him how much money he's missing out on by playing college football.)

In the possible event of Luck returning to college, he'll hurt the Panthers leverage in the top spot of the draft (regardless of how much is owed to the No. 1 pick) and he'll likely turn the draft world upside down.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com