FRISCO, Texas – Easton Stick got a phone call on Friday morning from a familiar number. There’s nothing like having one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL as one of your best friends.
Carson Wentz, although injured, was getting ready with his Philadelphia Eagles for a playoff game at the Chicago Bears. Stick, a senior, was in his final day of practice as a member of the North Dakota State football team. The Bison play Eastern Washington Saturday in the Division I FCS national title game.
“He’s obviously been a good friend to me since I stepped on campus here,” Stick said.
Later in the afternoon, former quarterbacks were part of at least 200 former NDSU players who were on hand for what has become an annual gathering before the title game. That included Cole Davis, who spent a few years with Wentz and Stick when he was at NDSU and is currently working for Wentz’s AO1 Foundation in Philadelphia.
“I think he would love to be here,” Davis said of Wentz. “Obviously he has a game this weekend but I think he would have a lot of fun. It would be really cool for him to be here.”
Davis and Stick were two of the last players to leave the practice field. There was plenty of catching up to do, more talk about life than football, Davis said.
Other former quarterbacks on hand were Mark Speral, Arden Beachy, Steve Walker, Dale Hammerschmidt and Brian Owen. Speral left with a cell phone of the alums along with current quarterbacks Stick, Holden Hotchkiss, Trey Lance and Noah Sanders. It was the first trip to Frisco as a fan for Davis, who finished his eligibility last season.
“Guys from different generations, it was pretty cool,” Davis said. “It was cool to hear their stories and just their opinions on everything down here. It’s a whole lot of fun.”
Stick calls the Friday gathering of former players one of the most treasured memories of his career.
“And we talk all the time about how awesome the former players have been to us and our program,” he said. “And they've laid the foundation for what's happening right now. And so we're thankful for them and we'll enjoy some time together.”
Meanwhile, head coach Chris Klieman addressed for the final time questions on the transition from NDSU to Kansas State. Several media members that cover K-State football were on hand Friday.
Stick lauded the transparency of the process, saying it made it much easier on the players. Klieman said the cooperation of the administrations from both schools made the situation “manageable.”
“It doesn't feel any different right now to be honest with you, simply because my total focus has been on preparing, preparing, preparing for Eastern Washington,” he said. “And no different than last year or three years before that or however many years we've been here. You always at this time start thinking about this time you have left with the seniors, and that's really my thought right now is, boy, I'm only going to be around these three guys and the other 21 seniors for another 24 hours or so.”