NDSU’s Wentz to make a name for himself in the NFL


The South Dakota State Jackrabbits have played some talented athletes throughout the years, but the past two seasons, they had a first hand look at a true future NFL player.

NDSU Bison quarterback Carson Wentz has been projected to go either number one to the Los Angeles Rams or number two to the Cleveland Browns. He’s likely to be the second quarterback taken this year behind California quarterback Jared Goff.

In the past two seasons, the Jackrabbits have faced Wentz once in Fargo and once in Brookings for the Dakota Marker Game.

“He’s obviously a great player, but he’s able to make a lot of line checks,” SDSU defensive back Nick Mears said. “He’s played a lot of football. If you show too early, he’s able to figure it out what coverage you’re in and he’s got a lot of arm talent as well.”

Mears said one of the best throws he’s seen from Wentz was the last game when he threw a 10-yard out route to a receiver running across the field.

Wentz went 31-47 with 298 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and also rushed 23 times for 157 yards and two touchdowns in the two meetings.

As a junior starter in 2014, Wentz threw for 3,111 yards and 25 touchdowns. He also added 760 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns while leading the Bison to their fourth consecutive FCS championship.

During his senior year, Wentz only started six games before being sidelined for 12 weeks by a broken wrist in late October.

“Carson is the epitome of our program, but we’re bigger than just one person,” said offensive coordinator Tim Polasek. “The kids reaction was more that the next guy will step up because that’s what we do at North Dakota State.

Wentz worked his way back and was cleared to play one week before the FCS Championship game Jan. 9 against number one seeded Jacksonville State.

In the championship, Wentz threw for 197 yards and a touchdown. He also led the Bison with 79 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

Wentz finished the 2015 season with a 65 percent completion rate, 1,651 passing yards, 17 passing touchdowns and six rushing touchdowns.

One of the greatest reasons Wentz is a top prospect in this years draft is because of his favorable size of 6 feet 5 inches and his ability to move his 237 pounds like a tight end.

In February, Wentz performed at the NFL combine in Indianapolis and performed in the top three among quarterbacks in almost every drill. Wentz ran a 4.77 second 40 yard-dash, jumped a 9’10” in broad jump and ran a 6.86 3-cone shuttle time.

“Just the natural athlete that he is makes him comfortable throwing the ball on the run, extending plays throwing downfield and then if he has to beat you with his feet,” Polasek said.

Wentz is a gifted athlete, but his desire for learning is something that makes him special and is something coach Polsek says started when Wentz was a redshirt freshman in 2011.

“He was interested in the origin of what we are doing, why we are doing it and how we are doing it,” Polsek said. “ That was interesting to me because you don’t see that out of everybody.”

The first round of the NFL Draft will begin Thursday, April 28 at 7 p.m. on ESPN and NFL Network.