Andrew Luck delivering on potential 

November, 21, 2010

About 15 months ago I was sitting with Jim Harbaugh at a round table in a near-empty banquet hall in the Hilton just a post pattern away from LAX. The Pac-10 preseason media day had wrapped up. Almost everyone else had filed out. The fiery Stanford coach, though, was on a roll. Heck, whenever there's a tape recorder or a notepad nearby, Harbaugh always seems to get on a roll. In retrospect, nearly everything out of his mouth was noteworthy that afternoon.

Some coaches are prone to gushing when they talk about certain players of theirs. Then-USC coach Pete Carroll was doing something similar with his young QB at the time, Matt Barkley. But listening to the way the former NFL quarterback Harbaugh spoke about Andrew Luck, a former blue-chip recruit who hadn't yet played in an official college game, really was surprising.

Stanford was coming off a 5-7 season. Luck had redshirted in 2008. To say Harbaugh was hyping up his player would be an understatement. He was raving, not just about Luck's physical tools, but also his intangibles. He even evoked the name Tom Brady.

Harbaugh, at times that day, searched for the appropriate ways to quantify his young QB's merits. There were some pauses, as if he were trying to describe something no one could conjure up. "He's got a quality that any quarterback anywhere would envy in that he can memorize anything," Harbaugh said of Luck. "He's got memory talent."