Dec. 6, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. -
Senior center Camden Wentz has started every game on the Pack’s offensive line since the first game of the 2010 season. In his first full season, he snapped the ball to current Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, and at the present time, could be initiating every offensive play to the next gunslinger from NC State to play at the NFL ranks: Mike Glennon. What might be unknown is how Wentz became a mainstay on the Wolfpack’s offensive line.
“I’ve learned from some good minds in the sport [like] Coach O’Brien, Coach [Horton] and now Coach [Jim] Bridge,” Wentz said. “I had a good guy to look up to my freshman year in Ted Larsen, (now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) who showed my the right way to be a college football player, how to prepare and how to work. Those are probably the biggest contributors to that. Having a good work ethic and constantly striving to be better has helped me continue my growth.”
Wentz isn’t just good, but entering the 2012 season, he had only allowed one sack in nearly 2,000 snaps as the starting center. His performance didn’t go unnoticed, as he was named to the preseason Rimington Award Watch List. The annual award is given to the nation’s best center near the season’s conclusion.
“It’s definitely an honor,” Wentz stated. “There are 50 guys on the preseason list, but at the same time, that means someone out there thinks you’re pretty good to put you on there. One of my lofty goals was to win the Rimington, as a personal goal. It’s a humbling thing, but it’s a good recognition for the university and for myself.”
The Marietta, Ga., native grew up in a hotbed for Division I college football talent – a state dominated by the University of Georgia and fellow ACC member Georgia Tech. The interesting part was when Wentz decided on getting out of the state, he initially committing to Stanford.
“I committed to Stanford really early in the recruiting process - in February of my junior year of high school - so that might’ve hampered a little bit of the attention I might have received, but in the long run, it all worked out for the best because I ended up where I was meant to be,” Wentz said. “I’m where I’m supposed to be, I have no regrets. I’m really glad I came here and this is a place I hope to come back to a lot in my life.”
Wentz could have been playing among numerous recent NFL products to come from Stanford, including now-San Francisco 49ers head coach John Harbaugh, the most recent the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft in quarterback Andrew Luck, as well as several other offensive lineman among the top picks in last year’s draft, had he remained committed to Stanford. There was a change of heart, however.
“Originally, it was the allure of living on the west coast,” Wentz said regarding his original commitment to Stanford. “It was exciting. They were the first school that offered me. I decommitted [because] there were some things that went on in my recruiting process that rubbed my family and I the wrong way. I ended up not wanting to go out there.”
That’s when Wentz began looking at schools, not necessarily closer to home, but with football programs comprised of coaching staffs that intrigued him. That’s when NC State became the right choice, and Wentz made his final decision to become a member of the Wolfpack.
“It was definitely the coaching staff - the success that they had with my position and the discipline of Coach O’Brien’s teams,” Wentz said. “Accountability is a huge factor in a program under Coach O’Brien’s leadership. I would tell people that it was far enough away from home where my parents couldn’t sneak up on me, yet, it was close enough where my parents could come a lot or I could go home if I needed.”
In his final season in Raleigh, Wentz is sharing the same emotions with the other members of the offensive line protecting Glennon. Chemistry is key, and the group includes Glennon as a member of the front unit.
“We’re close,” Wentz stated in regards to the relationship among the offensive line. “Most of us are pretty good friends. Most of the guys on the line hang out together. That’s our circle, and it includes Mike. He’s an easy guy to play for because he works just as hard as anyone else on this team. He’s a good guy to follow. We take pride in keeping him upright as much as possible.”
Even being a three-year starter, Wentz continues to work on new goals.
“I don’t think I’ll ever meet my goals because every time I get close to my goals, I tinker it a little bit,” Wentz said. “I have all these goals, but as I go into [them], I always increase r manipulate that goal so that I have to keep working toward it. Especially when it comes to this sport, I can always find something wrong with what I’m doing. I believe that’s a good thing. I’m not satisfied if it’s a win or it’s a successful play and I do what I’m supposed to. In my personal evaluation of myself, I always find something that I can do better, and I feel like that’s a key to continual growth.”
Free time is rare during the football season, but when the time is available, off the field, the senior likes to be in a more calm setting outdoors.
“If I could be in one place, I like to be at the lake,” Wentz said. “I don’t have a boat or anything, but whenever I have an opportunity, I love being on the water just hanging out or fishing.
Wentz also finds time to nurture his keen interest in the music industry. It’s not just he who thinks he could probably succeed in the industry, but others who know him very well who believe it, too.
“I have a very large library of music. I have friends back home who think, after football, I should try to get into working in music - not in the actual performing, but in the business because I have a pretty strong passion for music.”
He may love the outdoors and music, but at the same time, he may end up on an NFL roster next year. In the event a professional sports career doesn’t pan out, Wentz will always keep football near and dear.
“Once my football career is said and done, I’d really like to get back into coaching,” Wentz said. “This sport has done a lot for me and a lot of my role models have come from this sport, so I kind of want to be that for somebody down the road at the college level. That’s the plan if an NFL career doesn’t work out.”