Last season Keith Wenning was the best passer in the Mid-American Conference.
Certainly, many could argue that the best quarterback in the league was Jordan Lynch from Northern Illinois. The Huskies signal caller was a First Team All-American and Heisman finalist as a dual-threat for the Huskies, establishing multiple rushing records for a quarterback in the MAC, and nationally. When it comes to putting the ball in the air however, Wenning was without peers.
The four year starter for Ball State flourished under Pete Lembo's explosive offense for three seasons, rewriting the Ball State record books along the way. The improvement Wenning showed one season to the next is second to none. 1,300 yards and 14 touchdowns as a freshman, 2,700 yards and 19 touchdowns as a sophomore, 3,000 yards and 24 touchdowns as a junior, and a staggering 4,198 yards and 35 touchdowns against just seven interceptions his senior season. Wenning was twice named to the All-MAC Second Team and was on every preseason award watch list that involved throwing a football in the air.
That remarkable senior year is when the records fell. Wenning completed his decorated Ball State career as the only Cardinal quarterback to throw for north of 10,000 yards, capping at 11,402. He is now the school record holder in career passing yards, pass attempts, pass completions, and passing touchdowns. Wenning threw for the third most yards in a single season as a MAC senior, trailing just Marshall's Byron Leftwich, and Miami's Ben Roethlisberger.
Draft measureables would suggest Wenning fits the mold of an NFL quarterback. At 6'3" and 218 pounds he exceeds the average height of 6'2". Also for anyone interested in such a meaningless statistic, he ran the 40 in 5.0 at the NFL Combine. The consensus seems to be that Wenning has only helped himself with his performances at the NFL Combine and his pro day. So what now? Is Wenning an NFL quarterback? There's one very important thing to remember when it comes to evaluating this particular position in this particular league:
You don't know what an NFL quarterback looks like.
Yes that means me, and you, and Mel Kiper, and Todd McShay and all of these other pundits on television, radio, and in print media. EVERYBODY IS GUESSING. The idea that success in the NFL at quarterback can be predicted with any level of accuracy is laughable. Do you know who is widely considered to have had the best pro day in the history of pro days? JaMarcus "Purple Drank" Russell. Order a codeine and discuss that with friends.
For every quarterback accurately predicted to be successful in the league, I can give you two that weren't, and damn it why weren't Timmy Chang and Jared Zabransky drafted? I'm a member of the church of quarterbacking agnosticism. I'm willing to admit I don't know. Neither do you, haircut. I do know what I like in a QB though:
1. Lots and lots of yards.
2. Lots and lots of touchdowns.
3. Lots and lots of winning.
4. Lots and lots of improvement year to year.
This should certainly not be mistaken as statement indicating I'm predicting Wenning to be a big time quarterback in the NFL. It should be taken as a statement reflecting that there is a multitude of bad quarterbacks in the NFL, and the list of teams completely satisfied with their QB situation can be counted on one hand. Draft boards have Wenning anywhere from the 10th to 20th top quarterback available for the draft. Expect Wenning's name to be called late in the sixth round on May 10th.