North Dakota State, college football's premier program at the FCS level, will not play football this fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic. NDSU will instead look toward playing in the spring of 2021, it announced via Twitter on Friday, leaving one of the nation's top QB prospects with a decision on whether to apply for early eligibility for the 2021 NFL Draft.
The Missouri Valley Football Conference, which includes NDSU, announced last week that it would not conduct conference play this fall but allowed its schools to seek non-conference games at their individual discretion. It took NDSU just a week to choose not to pursue that option. The Bison have won three consecutive FCS national championships and eight of the last nine, the last of which was spearheaded by quarterback Trey Lance. Just a redshirt freshman in 2019, Lance (6-foot-3, 224 pounds, per school measurements) compiled a remarkable touchdown-to-interception ratio of 28-0 in his first season as a starter, leading the Bison to a 16-0 record.
Lance commented on the school's decision via Twitter, but did not address his future plans.
"We did everything we could and handled everything the right way. It's not fair, but we are unbelievably thankful for our coaches, staff, and administration for putting us in a position to have a chance to safely play this fall," Lance wrote.
NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah recently scouted three game tapes of Lance, and came away highly impressed. According to Jeremiah, he has the potential to be the best of the Bison's quarterback lineage that includes Philadelphia Eagles 2016 first-round pick Carson Wentz and 2019 Los Angeles Chargers fifth-round pick Easton Stick. Jeremiah compares Lance to former No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck.
Lance is a third-year sophomore this fall, and thus will be eligible to apply for early draft entry. If Lance does not sign with an agent, he can wait until the NFL's deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft (which is usually in mid-January) before deciding whether to return to NDSU.