Are you ready for some football? If so, you’re in luck because the season kicks off this week! Speaking of “luck,” regardless of whether you have a killer lineup set for your Fantasy league or are forced to tune in because of your significant other (hey, those tight pants aren’t that bad on the eyes!), one name that should certainly sound familiar is Andrew Luck.
The 22-year-old Heisman runner-up was taken first overall in April’s 2012 NFL draft and has quickly but efficiently shifted from Stanford student to a pro as the Indianapolis Colt’s starting quarterback. We caught up with Andrew to get the dirt on preparing for the season, what it has been like making the leap from college to the NFL and more! Here’s what we learned:
Playbook vs. “real” book smart. It’s important for any player on the field to have football intelligence, but playing smart is imperative for the quarterback while calling plays to gain yardage. Andrew has the brains—he was the valedictorian of his high school’s 2008 class and recently earned his undergraduate degree architectural design—to match his athleticism. “Learning a new playbook has been a learning process but it’s going in the right direction,” he said. For his first in-season game against the Chicago Bears, Andrew has been fully immersing himself in the opponent’s defense, analyzing and developing strategies that will put his team in the best possible position come game day.
Big shoes to fill. Andrew was drafted to take over for four-time league MVP Peyton Manning, who led the Colts to their first Super Bowl victory in 2006. Instead of worrying about fulfilling the magnitude of his role model’s legacy, Andrew has been concentrating on getting to know his team, having a productive off-season, as well as getting the proper rest and nutrition necessary for quality performance. “In my mind, I’m not preparing to fill anyone’s shoes. I think if I approached it like that it would be much more difficult,” Andrew said.
The pros to being a pro. “It’s been a lot of fun…sort of a whirlwind,” Andrew said. Not only did he graduate with a job lined up—something every college student dreams of—Andrew scored the career he had aspired for since he a kid. “A lot of great doors have been opened up.”
Pre-Game Rituals. Andrew turns to a variety of music to get his head in the game from classic rock to rap. Just don’t put on any country, though—he’s not a fan! “I listen to music, sort of relax and try not to get too fired up or too jacked up and keep my mind on what to expect from the defense,” he said. To get an extra boost of energy before a game, Andrew enjoys keeping it light by munching on granola bars throughout the day.
Inspiring words to live by. “I like to believe that hard work pays off, so try to live by that,” Andrew said.
Besides football, Andrew grew up participating in baseball, basketball, soccer and running track. (He also enjoys playing ping pong in his free time!) Like many kids, sports dominated Andrew’s childhood, which is why he has teamed up with Quaker and NFL PLAY 60 to motivate families in becoming more active and choosing wholesome foods. For more information on their mission of making healthy choices a priority, check out Quaker Oats’ website and make sure to cheer Andrew on in his NFL season debut this Sunday on CBS at 1 p.m. ET.