With the 2014 NFL Draft only a few months away, we reached out to some of the draft prospects we believe the Green Bay Packers could target in May. We’ve already heard from Arkansas center Travis Swanson and Oklahoma State defensive lineman Calvin Barnett this week, and today, we hear from Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning.
The Packers need depth at quarterback, and may be looking in May to add a young prospect to develop behind center. Wenning could be Green Bay’s guy when draft day comes around.
Wenning was a four-year starter at Ball State, earning second-team All-MAC honors for outstanding junior and senior seasons. The Coldwater, Ohio native excelled in Ball State’s up-tempo pro style offense and seems like a good fit for West Coast offenses, like Green Bay’s, in the NFL.
Wenning leaves Ball State holding the school records for career passing touchdowns (91), passing yards (11,187), and the most 300-plus yard games with 16. The two-time team captain also brings leadership to the field and is considered to be a high-character player by many scouts and coaches.
At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, Wenning has ideal size for the quarterback position and has the arm strength to excel at the next level. The Ball State prospect is a bit of an underrated player going into the draft. Many see him as a day three pick, but Wenning could be a real asset to a team looking for a true student of the game and someone that can develop under center.
Wenning brings a lot to both the quarterback position and the locker room, but to learn more about him, I caught up with the former Ball State Cardinal to hear what he had to say about his game and possibly playing for Green Bay.
Q. Tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up, and how did you first get into playing football?
KW: I grew up in Coldwater, Ohio, and was always a fan of sports and playing with anything that involved a ball. I played football, baseball, and basketball throughout high school. I started varsity baseball for four years and was heavily recruited and looked at by a couple major league teams, but throughout high school I didn’t know if I was going to play baseball or football. I knew I wanted to play football, but the opportunity to start at quarterback in high school was not there until my senior season.
Q. What led you to play at Ball State?
KW: I had a good senior season, but only received one division one offer to play quarterback and that was at Ball State. In my eyes, all I needed was one opportunity and Ball State was a perfect fit.
Q. You put up some pretty impressive numbers in your four years at Ball State. What does it mean to you to have had such a productive college career, and how will you transfer this success to the NFL?
KW: It is a great honor. Throughout my four years I have had some great teammates and coaches around me. I have learned a lot from them and really became a student of the game. I would obviously like to transfer the production, but more importantly transferring some traits – the film work, the extra time put in with receivers – those types of internal traits are something I will bring to the NFL and continue to grow with.
Q. For those of us who haven’t seen you play, describe the style of quarterback you are. Do you excel in the pocket or on the move? Are you a strong-armed quarterback or a precision passer? Maybe a little of everything?
KW: At Ball State, we ran a pro style type of offense. This is what I have most been exposed to, but I am comfortable learning new offenses and systems. Both arm strength and accuracy are important at any level – I want to continue to show people that I have those tools to play in the NFL.
Q. With the draft only a couple of months away, what parts of your game will you be working on improving before May?
KW: I am working on all aspects – from on the field work to film study and learning NFL terminology, I am really trying to submerse myself in the process and be a sponge.
Q. The Packers may be looking to add depth to the quarterback position in the draft. How would you feel if Green Bay drafted you in May?
KW: Playing in Green Bay would be an excellent opportunity. They have a clear history of great quarterbacks, and learning from their staff would be great.
Q. What kind of player and teammate would they be getting?
KW: Any team that wants me in their locker room is going to get someone that wants to win and learn. Whatever is asked of me is what I will do and more.
Q. What could you learn from a guy like Aaron Rodgers?
KW: I don’t think there is enough time to fully answer that. He is one of the best. I think one thing he has that all great quarterbacks have is resourcefulness – that ability to get it done. I don’t think anyone can ever have enough of that.
Q. What will be some goals you will set for yourself after you’re drafted and begin your career in the NFL?
KW: Step one is learning and absorbing as much information as possible. I want my teammates to see that I am a leader, hard worker, and reliable. There are no guarantees in this business, but I really want everyone that is around me to see that I am student of the game, can command a huddle, and want to be a leader.
Q. When you’re away from football, what do you like to do in your free time? Any favorite hobbies?
KW: Away from football, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I enjoy golfing, fishing, and listening to music as well. I enjoy meeting new people and traveling to new places I have not been before.
Career college stats
2013 – 498 pass attempts for 4148 yds, 35 TDs, 7 INTs, and 64.1 pct.; 44 rushing yds and 5 rushing TDs
2012 – 460 pass attempts for 3095 yds, 24 TDs, 10 INTs, and 65.4 pct.; 105 rushing yds and 3 rushing TDs
2011 – 449 pass attempts for 2786 yds, 19 TDs, 11 INTs, and 63.9 pct.; 182 rushing yds and 3 rushing TDs
2010 – 235 pass attempts for 1373 yds, 14 TDs, 14 INTs, and 54.5 pct.; 2 rushing TDs
Film on Keith Wenning
Keith Wenning against Eastern Michigan: 17 completions for 317 yards, 2 TDs and 60.7 completion %
Keith Wenning against Miami Ohio: 27 completions for 445 yards, 6 TDs, and 81.8 completion %
Get to know Keith better by watching this Ball State special
Watch more film on Keith Wenning and other draft prospects at draftbreakdown.com.