(Stats Perform) – North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance is projected to be one of the highest NFL Draft selections to ever come from an FCS program, albeit one that has forged a dynasty unlike any in college football.
Lance is coming off a 2019 season that was one of the best individually in FCS history, capped by the Most Outstanding Player award in the Bison’s national championship game win and just one day after he swept the Walter Payton Award (FCS offensive player of the year) and Jerry Rice Award (FCS freshman of the year), both presented by Stats Perform. He accounted for 42 total touchdowns and didn’t throw an interception during the remarkable season.
Lance’s impending early entry in the 2021 draft as a redshirt sophomore is unique, and his 17 career starts – all wins – are a relatively small sample size for interested NFL teams. He will have the NFL Scouting Combine as well as a pro day and private workouts to provide further evaluation.
The 6-foot-4, 226-pound standout checks many of the boxes for scouts. If there is need for more decision making about him on the NFL level, it may reflect from his performances against some of North Dakota State’s best opposing defenses and defensive backs over the last two seasons:
– In his 17 career starts, Lance’s fewest passing yards were against South Dakota State (62), James Madison (72), Illinois State (135 in 2019 playoff quarterfinals), Northern Iowa (145), Southern Illinois (146), Central Arkansas (149) and UC Davis (156). He had a 53.2 completion percentage, six touchdown passes and averaged 6.2 yards per attempt against those seven opponents – all nationally ranked at the time of the game. That was down from 74.7 percent, 24 TD passes and 11.6 yards per attempt in his other 10 career starts.
– Lance’s highest rushing totals occurred in his final two games – a positive with any dual-threat QB – but with what would be considered too many carries on the next level. He faced consistent pass rush when he had 30 carries for 166 yards against James Madison in the 2019 FCS championship game and 15 carries for 143 yards against Central Arkansas this past Saturday.
– In the 2019 season, North Dakota State trailed for only 6 minutes, 45 seconds in the second half of games, all to begin the third quarter against South Dakota State. Lance played well in the second half against Central Arkansas, which is a positive considering it was his only start in which the Bison needed to come from behind in the fourth quarter.