Throughout the May-September months, HERO Sports is going to name the best returning FCS player by jersey number, 99-1. Due to rosters being updated at different times for teams across the country and to keep things consistent, jersey numbers are based on the 2019 season.
Not only is Lance the best No. 5 in the FCS, and not only was he named the best offensive player in the subdivision as a redshirt freshman last year by winning the Walter Payton Award … he is now looked at as one of the best players in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Now, we still don’t know if Lance will declare for the draft. But with about every NFL Draft expert out there calling him a Top 3 quarterback, chances of him returning to NDSU for his junior season (or even this spring season) aren’t high.
Not even Carson Wentz, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft, received this level of hype during his Bison career. He didn’t blow up until the draft process when he impressed at the Senior Bowl, NFL Combine and his Pro Day.
The level of attention Lance has received this offseason is unprecedented. We all scoffed a bit when an ESPN writer listed Lance as a Heisman candidate early in the 2019 season. Little did we know a year later that Lance would be viewed as a future franchise NFL QB.
At 6-foot-4 and 226 pounds, Lance replaced the all-time FCS wins leader Easton Stick and made NDSU’s offense even more explosive last season. He went 192-of-287 passing for 2,786 yards, 28 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Lance is just as dominant with his legs, rushing for 1,100 yards and another 14 TDs.
The former three-star recruit out of Minnesota will be in action one time this fall, an Oct. 3 home game against Central Arkansas. We shall see if that’s his last game in a Bison uniform or not. One thing is for certain, though, and that’s Lance will be the third straight NDSU QB to be drafted and the fourth straight to get an NFL opportunity.
Of all the things NDSU football has accomplished, that may be the most impressive.
Sam’s coverage of the FCS began in 2012 as the sports editor and eventual editor-in-chief of NDSU’s The Spectrum. After graduating in 2015, he spent three years in the newspaper and magazine industry while starting his work for HERO Sports in the fall of 2016 as a freelancer. In May 2018, he joined the website full time as the Senior FCS Analyst.