A year ago, Andrew Luck eschewed the NFL and the likely distinction of being the No. 1 overall pick for a shot at the Heisman Trophy and a BCS national championship. He got neither, finishing as the runner-up for a second straight year and losing the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in overtime.
But Luck said after Monday's 41-38 loss to Oklahoma State that he regrets nothing about returning to Stanford for his all-but-official final season with the Cardinal.
"Yes, it was worth it," Luck said. "Not to say I enjoyed every moment, because I didn't. But I would never regret it. I felt I grew a lot as a person, as a player."
Luck is still the presumed top choice, due in part to the fact that he leaves Stanford as the school's career leader in total offense, touchdown passes, passing efficiency and completion percentage.
While Luck, a junior, has yet to file any official paperwork or hire an agent, he has said he will head home to West Virginia and make those decisions with his parents, including his father Oliver, a former NFL quarterback.
"Obviously I gotta figure out the agent and where to train and all that other stuff," Luck told ESPN's Heather Cox. "To be honest, I haven't given it much thought. I've sort of let my parents handle that. I'm sure they have a checklist of things to go over when I get there."
While Luck's pro skillset is of no debate, where he will land in the NFL remains a hot topic. The Indianapolis Colts went 2-14 and earned the rights to the top choice in April's draft as quarterback Peyton Manning missed the entire season with a neck injury that required three surgeries.
"I'll be happy wherever I land. Whether it be pick one through 270," Luck told ESPN. "I just want a chance to playoff professional football. It's been a dream. Whatever situation I end up in, I'm sure it'll be for the best."
Manning, who signed a five-year, $90 million deal in July, has begun to throw after undergoing his third neck surgery in 19 months, a fusion of two vertebrae to fix a damaged nerve that was causing weakness in his throwing arm. Colts owner Jim Irsay has said he will bring back Manning and pay him a $28 million bonus if the future Hall of Famer is healthy.
For his part, Manning said Sunday he is not worried about co-existing with Luck in the same locker room.
"I think I can co-exist with any player I've ever played with. I think I've always been a good teammate in that way," said Manning, who has worked with Luck as both a camper and a counselor at the Manning Passing Academy.
If Manning does return to the Colts in 2012, it's unlikely Luck would get much playing time. Luck said he's not concerned about potentially spending at least one year as a backup.
"If that's the situation, I'm sure it'd be great. If that's how it is, such is life. If that is indeed what happens then I'll do the best I can," Luck told ESPN.
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.