INDIANAPOLIS — On Thursday, Carson Wentz spoke of home.
The North Dakota State quarterback smiled and described "the great outdoors" among his favorite things about the state.
"Some people might know about it. Some people don't," Wentz said in what was something of his first meet-and-greet with the national media.
"A lot of hunting and fishing. Wide open land. I love it out there. It will always be home. No matter where I go, North Dakota will always be home and I'll always love it."
After all, Wentz — who comes to the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium with a certain buzz following an impressive Senior Bowl showing last month — will almost certainly be plucked from the Roughrider State this spring.
Along with California's Jared Goff and Memphis' Paxton Lynch, Wentz is among the top signal callers in this year's draft class and is projected by analysts to be a first-round pick.
"It's always been a dream. I view every day as just an opportunity. I'm grateful, I'm excited as heck to keep playing ball for sure," Wentz said, adding, "I didn't think that today for two years this is where I'm going to be. I didn't think like that. It was a goal, but I was always just one day at a time trying to get better."
But unlike his counterparts, Wentz didn't play major college football.
Instead, he stayed home and suited up for the Bison, one of the premier programs in the NCAA's Football Championship Subdivision. While in Fargo, Wentz — a 6-foot-5, 232-pound quarterback reportedly known for his intelligence and work ethic — led NDSU to back-to-back national championships while passing for 4,762 yards and 42 touchdowns in two seasons as a starter.
Still, there are some questions over whether playing in the FCS prepared Wentz for the NFL and how he'll adjust to the speed of the NFL game.
"I think right away the biggest challenge that myself, anybody standing up here at this podium is going to say is adjusting to that speed. You put on some NFL tape or you watch Monday Night Football, Sunday games or whatever, you realize these guys are playing fast. So you got to adjust right away and learn to adapt pretty quick. I'm excited for that opportunity," he said.
He added: "All you can go off of right now is what I've done in the past, what's been put on the tape, so to speak. I think that speaks for itself quite a bit. You come into these meetings, you show how much you're capable of learning, how quick you're able to adjust and acquire information and spit it back out and learn and understand. That's really all you can do."
To be sure, Wentz is a winner. And that's something he described as a critical dynamic for those hoping to become franchise quarterbacks.
"You got to win. I think being a winner in the NFL, that will take you places for sure. I think for me coming out of North Dakota State, I think the track record speaks for itself as a winner," Wentz said.
"So when I think of a franchise quarterback not only do I think of the physical ability, but I think of being a winner, winning ballgames, taking command, being a leader. All those things come to mind."