FARGO — The general story angle from media outlets in the Bay Area of California on Trey Lance over the past few months has been predictable, mostly because North Dakota State fans are used to his narrative. Small-town Minnesota kid shuns his home-state Big Ten school in favor of playing quarterback at an FCS program.
Not only that, he became the first QB in FCS history to declare early for the NFL Draft and be taken in the first round.
Now comes the hard part: reality. Former Bison quarterbacks Carson Wentz and Easton Stick know all too well the idealistic life of the NFL, the same occupation Lance is beginning with the San Francisco 49ers.
Wentz was the second overall pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2016 and Stick was a fifth round choice of the Los Angeles Chargers in 2018.
“There’s so much going on,” Stick said. “You’re in a new location. Where do I live? And then on top of that getting to know the locker room, learning the playbook, there is just a lot and you have to take it all in stride.”
Lance was the third overall pick by the 49ers at the end of April. Since, the numerous media outlets that follow the team have been on a quest to find as much information on the rookie as they can. Anybody who has known Lance in some capacity has probably been a guest on a talk show.
Add to that the responsibilities of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and trying to assimilate into the team atmosphere in a short amount of time can leave a player’s head spinning.
“One-hundred percent,” Wentz said. “But just being able to talk to Trey and getting to know him over the last couple of years, he’s doing fine. I know he has a good head on his shoulders and he’s in a great situation for him, his playing style, that coaching staff and what they’re doing to do with him.”
Wentz and Stick are back in Fargo for the weekend with Wentz’s AO1 Charity Softball Game on Saturday night at Newman Outdoor Field. The two led a free Sanford POWER Youth Football Clinic on Thursday for just over 200 kids at Dacotah Field.
Wentz said looking back to his few months from the draft to the beginning of training camp was filled with uncertainty. For one, he was considered the third string quarterback behind Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel.
“It was a lot of trying to figure out, hey, where do I go around here?” Wentz said. “I have a house, where do I go to eat? A lot of simple things. What does this, quote, NFL lifestyle, look like? A lot of those things you don’t know until you do it and live it and I’m sure (Lance) is trying to figure out a lot of things right now. But it’s a fun process.”
Stick had the advantage of being able to lean on Wentz for advice. Lance has the good fortune of being able to rely on Stick as well as Wentz. The three had dinner together last winter when they were working out in California after the season.
“I think I tried to follow it the best I could,” Stick said of advice from Wentz. “You get wrapped up in so much and just trying to find the balance of let’s find time to get to know the guys but at the same time, it’s like, I need to find a place to live but I don’t know the plays. Hold on, am I going to make the team? There’s a lot going on so you just compartmentalize as best you can.”