WILLIAMSBURG — When Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck came to the Colonial All-Pro Football Camp at William and Mary on Monday, he was able to share more than just a few tips about passing, running or catching.
Speaking to the kids at the camp, Luck emphasized the importance of education and thinking about life after football.
"Growing up for me, in my family, education was as much a premium as playing sports was," Luck said. "So I wanted to make sure that they focused on both of those things."
It is fitting that the second-year pro would share his values in education after he decided in 2011 to return to Stanford for his junior year, despite being projected as the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft.
The decision proved to be the right one as Luck led the Cardinal to an 11-2 record and BCS bowl berth on his way to the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL draft — with a degree in architectural design.
Luck threw for 4,374 yards and 23 touchdowns in his rookie year withe the Colts, breaking Cam Newton's rookie record for passing yards set in 2011. Luck's Colts lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens 24-9 in the playoffs, bringing his stellar rookie campaign to a close.
In between answering questions and showing off his NFL arm on towering 50-yard bombs, Luck joked around with the kids, giving out high-fives and teasing campers with jerseys of other NFL teams.
Luck said that he learned the importance of giving back at a young age as he admired NFL players at sports camps he attended. He added that now that he is on the other side of the mentoring process, it is important to him to share his experiences with kids.
"I remember going to the Manning Passing Academy when I was a kid and watching Chris Carter run routes, it was like watching a beautiful opera, which had a big impression on me," Luck said, referring to the former Minnesota Vikings receiver and current ESPN analyst.
"So now, looking back on how much fun I had at those camps, I just try to give back and hopefully have a positive impact on some of these kids in the way those guys had on me."
Fellow rookie quarterback Russell Wilson served as a guest instructor at the camp on Sunday night.
Wilson, a Richmond native, said that although he had never attended the camp at William and Mary, he was honored to follow in the footsteps of the former NFL stars that had visited the campus previously.
The Seattle Seahawks quarterback encouraged campers to motivate themselves and never allow anyone to tell them that they cannot do something. Wilson overcame the pressures from NFL analysts who questioned whether or not he would be able to be a successful NFL quarterback because of his size.
The 5-foot-11 quarterback proved his doubters wrong, throwing for 3,118 yards and 26 touchdowns as he led his team to 11 regular season wins and a playoff victory over Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins.