INDIANAPOLIS — You know that now infamous story that characterized Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz as selfish and egotistical?
His understudy isn’t having any of it.
“I haven’t had a better teammate than Carson,” said former North Dakota State quarterback Easton Stick, who is competing this week at the NFL’s annual scouting combine.
“I think you saw the support of guys in his locker room and things like that. Obviously, I’m not there, but I know who he is as a person, the character he has and I know the experiences I had with him. I didn’t see any of that stuff.”
In fact, Stick has stayed in touch with Wentz in the years since Wentz was drafted and Stick took over the starting job at NDSU. The two have even spoken relatively recently as Stick goes through the pre-draft rigmarole. Stick said Wentz has been a great resource as he goes through the process.
In a way, Wentz helped pave the way for Stick. Wentz is just the latest in a group of former FCS quarterbacks — Stick also fired off the names Joe Flacco, Jimmy Garoppolo and Ryan Fitzpatrick — to find success in the NFL. Even though they’re very different quarterbacks, Stick hopes the Wentz connection might help teams realize he can play at the next level.
There’s even a common thought that the Eagles might draft a developmental quarterback late in this year’s draft. Why not Stick? After all, the Eagles know how much that NDSU system transfers to the NFL, so he would have a built-in support system in Philly. And Stick even signed with Rep1 Sports, the same agency that represents Wentz.
“It would be really exciting,” Stick said about the possibility of joining the Eagles. “[Wentz has] been a good friend and has been a really good teammate to me in Fargo. If that’s where I ended up, I’d be really happy.”
At 6-foot-1, Stick is a much different player than the 6-5 Wentz. While Wentz is a towering figure, Stick is a much greater running threat. He rushed for over 2,500 yards in four years at NDSU.
Stick got his first college action in Wentz’s final college season in 2015. Wentz broke his wrist during the year and Stick took over, going 8-0 in his absence. But Wentz’s broken wrist healed in time for the FCS national championship game and Stick went back to the bench. The Bison beat Jacksonville State, 37-10, in that game and Stick was forced to watch. Stick admitted it was tough to miss that game, but it was Wentz's team and everyone knew if Wentz was healthy enough to return, he would play. But during that eight-game stretch, Wentz helped guide Stick as much as he could.
“He was a huge resource,” Stick said. “He was really another coach, honestly. He was at all our practices. He was working really hard in case he had another opportunity to play moving forward. He was there every step of the way, helping us in meetings, kind of walking me through stuff.”
Stick guided NDSU to national championships in 2017 and 2018.
When asked about the biggest thing he learned from Wentz, Stick answered the importance of having a plan on every play. Quarterbacks in the NDSU system had control at the line and Wentz taught him to always understand what the defense is doing, why they’re doing it and how to get into the right play.
It was really a lesson in preparedness. And now Stick is prepared to get drafted or deal with not hearing his name called. Either way, Wentz will be around to help him with whatever comes next.
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