As Backup, Wentz Taught Former NDSU Star Jensen About Patience

While Brock Jensen was in the midst of winning three consecutive national titles, he didn't realize he was learning lessons from his understudy.  

He didn't realize it until years later. 

Back then, Jensen was the man at North Dakota State, quarterbacking the Bison to three consecutive FCS national titles in 2011, 2012 and 2013, while a young QB named Carson Wentz patiently waited his turn. 

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Wentz, who the Eagles took with the No. 2 selection in the 2016 NFL draft on Thursday night (see story), arrived in Fargo, North Dakota in 2011 but didn't become the team's starting quarterback until 2014. He had to wait three years for Jensen to finally leave. 

And Wentz waited with grace. 

"I think just the way he went about his business when he was waiting his turn really stood out," Jensen said to CSNPhilly.com in a phone interview Thursday afternoon. "He was diligent in all the work he was doing. He put in extra time on the field and in the film room and he just prepared like he was going to be playing on game day those few years he was waiting. I'm sure he got impatient at times but he went about his business, he went about it the right way. 

"That's something I look back on and I find myself now in that position as a pro. I learned a lot from Carson, looking back on it now. I'm definitely trying to do some of the things he was doing when he was waiting. I just appreciate the things I didn't realize he taught me about that, it was pretty impressive. He was so ready for his opportunity to take the reigns, he continued to lead and led them to another couple championships. The Eagles are going to get a great quarterback."

Jensen, 25, spent last season with the Ottawa RedBlacks in the Canadian Football League, but was on the IR with lingering shoulder soreness. The year off gave him a chance to sit and learn behind CFL great (and Temple alumnus) Henry Burris as the team competed for the Grey Cup.  

So in a role-reversal, Jensen was the one waiting. 

And he did what Wentz taught him. 

"I got to sit back and just be a sponge and see Henry perform on game day and just learn a lot," Jensen said. 

Sure, Wentz went on to continue the success of the North Dakota State program, winning two consecutive FCS national championships after Jensen's three, but those first few years in Fargo, sitting and waiting made him better. 

"I learned patience," Wentz said on a conference call with Philly reporters on Thursday night. "I learned an unbelievable amount of football in that timespan. It was tough sitting and waiting, but coming from high school football to that complex system, it was a lot. It was a lot to learn and I think I learned it pretty quickly and was able to keep diving in more and more into the playbook, into the schemes and defenses and I'm looking forward to just increasing that knowledge as we go here."

It's a good thing Wentz has some experience sitting and waiting, because the Eagles - in a perfect world - would like him to sit and learn behind Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel in 2016. 

"There's really no need (to rush)," Doug Pederson said. 

When Wentz, 23, was picked by the Eagles on Thursday night, he became the highest-drafted FCS quarterback ever. Jensen never heard his name called. 

In 2014, after leading the Bison to a third title, Jensen went undrafted. He signed with the Dolphins after the draft, was cut, signed, and was cut again all before the end of summer. He spent the 2014 season with the Omaha Mammoths of the Experimental Fall Football League, before catching on with the RedBlacks in 2015. 

Jensen and Wentz had similar success stories in college, but have taken very different routes since. Still, Jensen feels no bitterness toward Wentz, who he still considers a "brother," and who he worked out with not long ago in Fargo. 

"It's just timing, right?" Jensen said. "I'm happy with where I'm at and I wouldn't trade my story for anything. And it's time. He's the best quarterback in this draft class, bar none. I know (Jared) Goff is the first pick, but I believe the Rams are making the wrong decision, but that's why I'm not a GM. I'm just a quarterback. [Wentz has] earned the situation that he's in and my draft days are over. I'm beyond that now. To answer that question, it's hard, but I'm grateful where I'm at and God has a plan in everybody's life."

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