Lightly recruited and widely dismissed, Trey Lance landed at North Dakota State with little fanfare. But now, after just 16 career FCS starts, the quarterback no one wanted has the full attention of NFL scouts.
By Chase Goodbread | Sept. 30, 2020
Lance lost reps to quarterbacks who skipped the line for extra throws, but it wouldn't have been like him to do the same. He would later hear that some Elite 11 coaches not only don't mind the skippers, it's one way they identify the alphas in the group. Lance threw around 20-to-30 balls in live reps, more than a few campers but fewer than most.
Looking back, he leads with humility.
"I'm not saying I deserved to be a finalist," Lance said. "There are a ton of quarterbacks there, and I understand how hard it is to narrow it down from the Elite 11's standpoint. But I didn't come out of it feeling like I had a shot going into it."
Shoulder, meet chip.
It wasn't the first time Lance felt snubbed.
Private instruction? He never gave it a thought. Giving up basketball? Forget about it.
The robotic grind of year-round training makes quarterbacks out of kids who were never meant to be one. Lance, by contrast, was a natural.
"The ball just started flying out of his hand, and he could put it wherever I asked him to," Carlton said. "He started tearing up my hands. I had to get some gloves after a while."
When Loots watched the tape, he saw a 15-year-old whose mechanics were advanced as if he'd been formally trained for years.
Only, he hadn't.
"I liked the way his feet stepped to the target, the way he transferred his weight properly," Loots said. "That's something kids that age struggle with. And he could throw on the move, to his right or left. He still had two years of high school left to go, and it was obvious just watching a few minutes of video that he had what it took to go play somewhere."
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