North Dakota State Bison quarterback Trey Lance is one of the favorite prospects of draftniks everywhere this summer. Everyone who put eyes on Lance from TDN's scouting staff oozed praise for what the young quarterback can become with his traits, whereas NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah pegged Lance as "the most impressive" out of the 2021-eligible quarterbacks this summer—even surpassing a perceived "generational" talent in Clemson's Trevor Lawrence.
But the "Lose for Lance" train might not be ready to leave the station just yet, not after the news was passed down that the Missouri Valley Football Conference is poised to push their 2020 season to the spring of 2021. That leaves Lance, who is a redshirt sophomore this season, with just one (brilliant, mind you) season as a collegiate starting quarterback. One can assume with relative safety that the 2021 NFL Draft is not going to be moved to accommodate the changes in the college football calendar, which leaves Lance with a difficult decision:
- Return to NDSU for the 2021 season and build upon the foundation he built last season before presumably declaring for the 2022 NFL Draft
- Declare for the 2021 NFL Draft here and now and hope his one season sample size is enough to entice a school to bet on his talents
- Promptly transfer to a Power 5 school, where the odds of a season taking form this fall are more likely and hoping to secure an extra year as a starter ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft
There are no easy answers. Yes, New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton declared after winning the Heisman with just one season as a starter and 292 collegiate pass attempts back in 2010, but he was a redshirt junior that season with the Tigers, he played in the SEC against the top competition in the country, won a National Championship, and didn't have to sit out a year with no football before declaring. Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones, affectionately coined "Twelve Gauge" for his number and big arm, nearly declared for the 2015 NFL Draft after just three starts (which all came as wins in the Big Ten Championship Game and two contests in the inaugural College Football Playoff) as a red-hot and buzzy name before thinking twice and returning to school to build on his resume. He would eventually be benched in favor of J.T. Barrett the following season and was drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
If Lance chooses and finds a way to play football this fall, he's probably going to have to find a home somewhere in the Power 5 conferences, who seem far more intent on finding a way to make a season work. Where are some logical destinations? Here is the best landing spot in each of the Power 5 conferences for Lance to showcase his talents this fall before potentially leaping into the 2021 NFL Draft.
ACC - Florida State Seminoles
Why it makes sense: New head coach Mike Norvell's offense is about as QB-friendly as you'll find in college football. Lance would have a chance to play at a higher level of football while taking on Miami, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Clemson, and Virginia. Norvell has produced 4,000-yard passers in Riley Ferguson and Brady White over the last four seasons, imagine what he could do with Lance throwing to wide receiver Tamorrion Terry.
Big Ten - Michigan Wolverines
Why it makes sense: Lance could avoid having to pack up and move halfway across the country by transitioning to Michigan this season, where he'd have the opportunity to play for an accomplished former NFL head coach in Jim Harbaugh and operate Josh Gattis' offensive attack. The Wolverines are stocked with weapons between wide receivers Nico Collins and Ronnie Bell, tight end Nick Eubanks, and running back Zach Charbonnet (a true sophomore). As an added bonus, Lance could spotlight himself at Michigan in a quarterback duel with another one of the 2021 NFL Draft's presumptive top passers, Ohio State's Justin Fields.
Big 12 - Oklahoma Sooners
Why it makes sense: The Sooners have a pipeline of transitioning transfer quarterbacks into top draft selections—Lance could be the next in line. Lincoln Riley helped Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray become No. 1 overall picks while also helping boost Jalen Hurts' stock to the second round in three consecutive seasons; Lance in the Big 12 with so many "Swiss cheese" defenses would give him perhaps the best chance to match his offensive output from 2019 with the Bison.
PAC 12 - Oregon Ducks
Why it makes sense: Replacing a top-10 overall pick at quarterback is never an easy task. Quarterback Justin Herbert has been a fixture behind center for the Ducks for years, but now the team is back to square one. If they're starting anew, why not try to take advantage of the reset and extend your window another year by embracing a prolific young passer who is physically capable of all the same things as Herbert but might just have a higher ceiling? With a sturdy offensive line all but guaranteed with Penei Sewell in tow and coach Mario Cristobal's pedigree, Lance would be well protected and get a chance to play for a potential championship contender.
SEC - LSU Tigers
Why it makes sense: Not unlike Oklahoma, LSU took a transfer quarterback and helped boost him to the No. 1 overall pick with Joe Burrow last season. And with wide receivers JaMarr Chase and Terrace Marshall Jr. still on the roster, the Tigers would suddenly look like a much more likely repeat champion if Lance lives up to his potential in Baton Rogue. An added bonus? Playing in the SEC will always move the needle for NFL scouts—assuming you play well, of course.
- Dec 08, 2022
- Dec 08, 2022