North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance, one of the top prospects in college football, intends to enter the 2021 NFL Draft.
He announced his plans just three days after leading the Bison to a 39-28 win over Central Arkansas in their lone game of the fall, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport confirmed. The third-year sophomore does not plan to take part in the Bison's spring season, which will begin in February.
Lance, who first told Yahoo Sports of his intentions in an exclusive interview, later shared the news via social media:
Lance (6-foot-4, 226 pounds, per school measurements) is accurate both from the pocket and on the run. He has a reputation for reading defenses effectively and handled protection calls from the line of scrimmage in the NDSU offense, which his coaches believe will serve him well at the pro level.
Unrecruited as a quarterback by FBS programs, Lance was largely unknown until 2019.
With 25 scouts from 20 NFL clubs on hand at NDSU, Lance's performance against Central Arkansas on Saturday wasn't his best as a passer: he completed 15 of 30 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns, and threw the only interception of his brief college career. He was more impressive on the ground, rushing for 143 yards and two more scores on 15 carries. Last season as a redshirt freshman, he was spectacular in leading the Bison to an FCS national championship, their eighth in nine years, with a TD-to-INT radio of 28:0. Still, NFL clubs will have little more than that season plus Lance's game on Saturday from which to judge his talent (17 starts total). He played very sparingly in 2018 in what became a redshirt year.
NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah saw similarities to Andrew Luck in scouting three of Lance's game tapes earlier this year, and remains steadfast in his belief in Lance as a top prospect after evaluating several more of Lance's tapes from 2019.
Two other top quarterback prospects, Clemson's Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State's Justin Fields, also are underclassmen; Lawrence indicated earlier this fall that he doesn't expect to return to Clemson in 2021, while Fields has yet to announce whether he will enter the draft.