As a freshman in high school, quarterback Carson Wentz was just 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 125 pounds. By his senior year, Wentz grew to a staggering six feet five and 200 pounds. If it hadn't been for an injury that kept him out from playing football his junior year, he may have gotten attention from more collegiate programs than in his home state of North Dakota.
"In North Dakota, it's hard to get found in general, let alone missing a junior year," Wentz said at his press conference this week. "I came in my senior year at 6'5" and 200 pounds and kind of came out of nowhere. I always knew I had the physical and mental abilities to play this position, but physically I finally developed late. I'm so thankful and I wouldn't trade the road I took for the world."
Wentz, 6-5, 233, is now one of the most sought-after players at this week's Reese's Senior Bowl. A two-year starter for North Dakota State, Wentz helped lead the Bison (it's pronounced "Bi-zon," he clarifies) to its fourth and fifth consecutive FCS championships.
"It's just been a really cool run," Wentz said in an exclusive interview with Texans TV. "It's hard to kind of reflect back on my first start and just the whole five years of a whirlwind that my class was just on. To think we're leaving that place with five national championships is something that, arguably, we've never done before. Pretty nuts."
In 2015, Wentz broke his wrist and underwent surgery that sidelined him for two months. He returned for the FCS National Championship where NDSU defeated Jacksonville State 37-10 and Wentz threw for 197 yards, three touchdowns (one passing, two rushing), two interceptions, and rushed for 79 yards.
Wentz may have all the physical attributes that NFL teams are looking for: size, arm strength, athleticism, but he feels his football knowledge will be his biggest asset.
"With the mental side of things, I think that is something that will really come to the forefront throughout this process," Wentz said. "Playing at North Dakota State, playing in a pro-style offense, the last couple of years was a pro-style and just about as multiple. If you name the play, we probably ran it. If you watch our tape, you'd agree with me and so I think that will definitely help me. The responsibilities I had at the line of scrimmage and everything, I just think that my mental side of things will really come to the forefront."
Wentz will suit up for the North team in the 2016 Senior Bowl game, airing Saturday on NFL Network at 1:30 p.m. CT.
Check out some snapshots from Day 2 of Senior Bowl practice in Fairhope and Mobile, Alabama. Images courtesy of AP.