MARSHALL, Minn. (KELO) — Every football player dreams of making it to the NFL, and for Marshall, Minnesota native and former NDSU quarterback Trey Lance, that dream is about to become reality in the upcoming NFL Draft. But Lance’s journey to the pro’s has been anything but ordinary. We spoke with his high school coach and a former teammate about what it’s been like watching one of their own make it to the top.
Marshall, Minnesota is home to around 14,000 people including one soon to be NFL quarterback, Trey Lance. But quarterback wasn’t where Lance would first excel at early on.
“Trey was a running back at the time but you could see the competitiveness he had. He was a little bit thicker than the Trey Lance you see now and the height wasn’t there. So, he was always a good athlete and competitor but, we thought he was going to be a running back,” Bahlmann said.
By high school, Lance had made the switch to quarterback, and became the varsity backup during his Sophomore season. Later that year, Marshall’s starting quarterback was sidelined mid-game due to injury, opening the door for Lance.
“We we’re actually behind and Trey came in and led us on a couple touchdown drives, but fell a little short on the comeback so we got beat 39-35, but Trey took over from there and led us to three straight tournaments,” Bahlmann said.
Over the next three seasons Lance would become one of the best signal callers in the state.
“We do routes every Thursday morning in the off-season and I remember coming in as a little freshman and when he threw the ball I just remember how hard that would come in. It was just like catching a rocket,” Louwagie said.
But most schools didn’t think Lance had the tools to be a college quarterback.
“He played safety and returned punts and got molded into that athlete recruiting thing. We knew he was a quarterback the whole way, he’s a guy with the ball in his hands so we stayed away from anybody who wanted to recruit him as a defensive guy and went with quarterback only,” Bahlmann said.
FCS power NDSU would offer Lance as a quarterback. By his second season in Fargo, Lance had established himself as the best player in the FCS, taking home the Walter Payton Award.
“Trey’s never content so when people doubted him I think it motivated him more, and even made him focus more and work hard just to prove the doubters wrong a little bit,” Bahlmann said.
“Just kind of the skills he brought, not only on the field, but as a person is something that I think a lot of people looked up to in this community and especially on the football field,” Louwagie said.
As Lance prepares to hear his named called Thursday night in the NFL Draft, his hometown has something special planned to honor the former Tiger great.
“It’s just fun for our kids, a town of 14,000 people, to see our guy go in the NFL. Everywhere you look its Trey Lance, so the community’s going to have ‘Trey Lance Day’ the day of the draft and it’s just going to be a lot of fun,” said Bahlmann said.
The NFL Draft begins Thursday night at 7 o’clock with the first round.