Carson Wentz found out that the Philadelphia Eagles had traded up to the No. 2 overall pick via text message. Direct contact is the primary way he gets any news. Wentz doesn't have cable and he only rarely indulges in social media.
Outside his insulated world, every interested party in the NFL Draft is losing its mind. The Eagles sent a five-pick dowry to the Cleveland Browns, who were leaning towards taking Wentz as of last week according to an ESPN The Magazine profile. He'll land in Philadelphia only if the Los Angeles Rams don't take him, however. The Rams gave up six picks to move up to No. 1 and were seemingly set on taking Wentz, but have recently shifted towards Cal quarterback Jared Goff.
Is it better to stockpile picks for the future or mortgage it for a "sure thing?" Whatever the answer, Wentz doesn't much care for the debate. He's "very" ready for the draft process to be over.
"Since Jan. 9, which was the date of the national championship, it's just been the longest job interview ever," Wentz tells SB Nation. "Ever since pro day ended, the anxiousness is almost skyrocketing. I'm ready to find out where the heck I'm going, and start learning and start preparing."
"I knew my time would come"
North Dakota State has won five consecutive FCS national championships, yet Wentz, the starting quarterback of the Bison for their last two titles, wasn't well known until after the season ended and his name started showing up on draft boards. Even then, he wasn't the projected top pick in the draft until he excelled in scouting showcases like the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine. He was projected to go No. 22 overall to the Houston Texans in Dan Kadar's first mock draft after the regular season, making him the third quarterback off the board behind Goff and Memphis' Paxton Lynch.
Wentz is firmly in the limelight now, and he admits there are perks to the attention -- not so much for him, personally, but for his teammates, NDSU and his community. Wentz was born in Bismarck, and sees the recognition he has earned as a reflection of North Dakota itself. Likewise, the state has embraced him with its entire heart. Though the process has been long, it has been worthwhile in many ways.
"Just take the pro day for example, all the attention that came there because of me -- well other guys got it as well," Wentz says. "I was pretty excited for that because not only did I get to go and do my thing in front of a bunch of people, but so did all my teammates and guys that are also fighting for a shot."
Wentz has been reminded not to gush too much about his alma mater. Former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Ryan Lindley has become a trainer, mentor and friend, and told Wentz that, now that he's about to become someone's big-money investment, he can't be a "High School Harry" any more.
That the NFL is, foremost, a business shouldn't be a revelation to anyone. Lindley has been next to Wentz to make sure the lesson is imparted. Wentz, though he was straight-A student, can be a difficult pupil in that regard. He knows that money and scrutiny are part of the job, but beneath the incidentals is a game he loves.
"[Football] really just brings about a special bond and a camaraderie that not many things can bring about," Wentz says. "There's not many games where there's physical contact like what is displayed in the game of football. There's not many things where it's legal. And I think that's just an awesome part of the game. It's a game played by men."
Simple. If Wentz is worried, he refuses to betray himself. Whatever people or money say, his only job is to get better at football, and he's good at that. He prizes his mental acuity, something he proved by thriving in a complex Bison offense.
Wentz has always wanted to be good, no matter the task. He was a three-sport star in high school, where, as a 5'8 freshman, he prayed he would one day hit 6'0 (he's 6'5 now). He was praised for his ultra-preparedness even while he sat on the Bison bench for three seasons. In 2011, when Wentz was the scout team quarterback, coaches felt he was the best quarterback the Bison defense faced all season.
Wentz says he realized he might be good enough for the NFL deep into the postseason of his junior year at NDSU. He threw six touchdowns to one interception during the Bison's four playoff games. They won the national championship on Wentz's 5-yard touchdown run with 37 seconds left. But that realization didn't affect him much.
"I knew my time would come, whenever that would be," Wentz says. "It never distracted me from putting in the time every day. I never amped up any workouts because, 'Hey this is a real thing.' I've always been the same guy."
"Just a normal guy"
Wentz may be one of the most genuinely apolitical players in the draft. While Eagles fans are unsure about the future, Wentz is excited about potentially playing in Philadelphia in front what he knows are "some really passionate fans." While it's popular to debate Wentz vs. Goff at the top of the draft, the two have actually become close friends as clients of the same sports agency. Any comparison is futile, anyway -- "Heck, I've probably been compared to about 20 guys already."
One common criticism is that Wentz made his name playing relative weak competition in a low-pressure environment. In response, he says there was plenty of pressure on him to replace a "three-year, back-to-back-to-back national champion" in former Bison quarterback Brock Jensen. His first-ever start was on the road at FBS Iowa State in 2014. Wentz went 18 for 28 for 204 yards and the Bison won by 20 points.
Wentz's most important attribute may be his ability to chill. He has been extraordinarily good at focusing on the most important task at any moment, even in the midst of so much literal and figurative noise. He'll be one of the biggest names in football in a week, but despite how it may seem, there's no real reason why Wentz needs to change a thing.
"Once the day is done it's like, 'Hey, let's just be a normal person again, let's just worry about other things in life. Let's play video games, let's spend time with my dog,'" Wentz says. "I'm still just a normal guy, normal 23-year-old man -- that's got a life change coming up, but don't make it bigger than it needs to be.
"It's just a game of football out there."