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COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Georgia A.D. says he expects improvement from Bulldogs; Stanford's Luck staying in school; Bama stars Ingram, Dareus going pro

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ATLANTA -- Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said Thursday he's looking for improvement from the Georgia football team and more passion from coach Mark Richt following the Bulldogs' first losing record since 1996.

McGarity said in a telephone news conference he won't put a number on the wins he expects from Richt's team in 2011 following a 6-7 finish this season, including a stunning loss to Central Florida in the Liberty Bowl.

He says he understands fans' frustrations following the disappointing season and is looking for improvement "in all areas, including discipline" next season after Georgia had 12 players arrested or charged in 2010.

McGarity says Richt "started to show the passion he has for the job" on Wednesday when he expressed his confidence the team is close to contending again.

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STANFORD'S LUCK NOT GOING PRO:

STANFORD, Calif. -- Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck has decided to stay in college to get his degree instead of immediately cashing in on the riches of being the likely No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.

Luck announced his decision Thursday, more than a week before the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL draft. Luck, who sat out his first year as a redshirt, has two years of eligibility remaining but is on track to graduate next spring.

"I am committed to earning my degree in architectural design from Stanford University and am on track to accomplish this at the completion of the spring quarter of 2012," Luck said in a statement issued through the school. Stanford said Luck was not available for further comment.

Luck's decision to stay at Stanford comes as coach Jim Harbaugh is being wooed by NFL teams for a possible job. Harbaugh met Wednesday with officials with the San Francisco 49ers and then met with Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross on Thursday in the Bay Area.

New Denver Broncos chief football executive John Elway has said he hopes to interview Harbaugh for their job.

It's unclear whether Luck's decision to stay in school will impact Harbaugh's decision whether to leave for an NFL job this year. If Harbaugh does leave Stanford, the opportunity to coach Luck next season will likely make Stanford a plum assignment.

Luck was the runner-up this season to Auburn's Cam Newton for the Heisman Trophy and will now be one of the favorites for next year's award.

Luck was widely considered the top draft prospect after two spectacular years at Stanford. His decision will be a blow to the Carolina Panthers, who have the No. 1 pick in April's draft and are looking for a quarterback.

Luck capped this season by completing 18 of 23 passes for 287 yards and four touchdowns in the fifth-ranked Cardinal's 40-12 victory over No. 12 Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl on Monday night.

That helped Stanford (12-1) extend its school record for wins in a season and has the Cardinal poised to finish in the top five of the AP poll for the first time since the unbeaten 1940 team finished No. 2.

Luck, the son of former NFL quarterback Oliver Luck, is a major reason why Stanford has gone from a one-win team in 2006 before Harbaugh arrived to one of the top teams in the country. He has led Stanford to a 20-5 record in his 25 career starts, only missing last season's Sun Bowl loss to Oklahoma with a broken right index finger.

"This is a win-win for him," Oliver Luck said. "He gets to spend another year at Stanford, be part of team that will be highly ranked again next year, finish his degree and enjoy Palo Alto. It's not like the NFL is going anywhere, it's one of the best run leagues in the world. It will still be there when he graduates."

Luck has completed 64.4 percent of his passes for 5,913 yards, 45 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in his career. He has also rushed for 807 yards and five scores. That athleticism, along with his strong, accurate arm and on-field poise, has had NFL scouts salivating at his potential as a pro.

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ALABAMA STARS INGRAM, DARUES HEADED TO NFL:

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama has scheduled a news conference today as a report has surfaced that defensive end Marcell Dareus is heading to the NFL, along with 2009 Heisman winner Mark Ingram.

Dareus's legal guardian, Lester Reasor, told The Birmingham News on Thursday that Dareus has decided to skip his senior season. Reasor told the newspaper that Dareus received a first-round grade from the NFL's advisory board. ESPN.com, meanwhile, reported that Ingram had decided to join him in the NFL.

A woman who answered the phone Thursday evening at Reasor's home said only that Dareus' decision "will be announced tomorrow."

Dareus was the MVP of the BCS championship game last year. He was suspended for the first two games of his junior season for accepting improper benefits from an agent.

Dareus finished this season with 34 tackles, 11 for a loss, and 4 sacks.