Now, picture a person that size water-skiing behind a boat.
Yeah, Camden Wentz can’t see himself doing that either.
“I’m way too big to be on a couple of pieces of wood behind a boat,” he said. “I’m more into sitting inside a rubber tube and being dragged by the boat.
“I’ve always liked being outdoors and going fishing. I love being on the water, but water skiing isn’t going to happen.”
While being outdoors is one of Wentz’s favorite pastimes, it’s his time spent on the football field that’s really set him apart.
Since graduating Lassiter High School in 2009, where he was a three-year starter and four-year letterman on the offensive line, Wentz has put on 25 pounds, played in a bowl game and enters his second full season as the starting center for North Carolina State.
After seeing action in five games as a backup in 2009, Wentz took over the starting role in 2010 and helped lead the Wolfpack to a 9-4 overall record, a 5-3 mark in the ACC Atlantic Division and a 23-7 victory over West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl.
“It was really great to get that bowl win,” he said. “We wanted to send the seniors out with a victory so bad. We went down there, and nobody was picking us to win because West Virginia had such a good defense. But we won, and we finished in the top 25 in the nation. It was a great step in the right direction for our program.”
Fresh off of that strong season-ending win, and a much-talked-about offseason that saw starting quarterback Russell Wilson transfer to Wisconsin, Wentz is looking forward to the 2011 season and taking snaps with the Wolfpack’s new starting QB, junior Mike Glennon.
“They’re two different types of players,” Wentz said. “Mike is more of a pocket passer who throws deep and sees the field really well. With Russell, when the pocket broke down, he could do things with his feet, so I always had to be ready in case he was going to take off.
“I think Mike will do great for us at quarterback. He’s looked great in spring practice and, when he takes over, he’ll be a great leader calling the shots.”
While Glennon will be calling the shots for the entire offense, it will be Wentz, once again, calling the shots along the offensive line as one of four returning starters.
“We’re an experienced line,” he said. “We all kind of came in together.”
Wentz is roommates with two of his fellow linemen, guard Andrew Wallace and tackle R.J. Mattes.
“I’m with these guys all of the time,” Wentz said. “We do everything together. It really helps to build our relationship and keeps it strong. The entire offensive line gets along well.”
Chemistry is a big part of any team, and it’s the relationship Wentz has built with his fellow linemen that’s helped them become so successful. Individually, Wentz’s 25 extra pounds were also necessary for him to compete in the trenches against the defensive linemen he continuously faces.
“To be as big as the competition, I had to put on the weight and get stronger,” he said, “but just as important is the work I’ve had to do with my technique and my feet. Adding the weight isn’t enough if your technique and your feet don’t go with it.”
Much of what Wentz learned in his freshman season came as serving as the understudy to former Wolfpack center Ted Larsen, who’s now the starting center for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As the heir apparent to the position, Wentz took what he learned from Larsen and position coach Don Horton and established himself as a leader on the field.
“(The coaches) put their confidence in me early on, and I’ve tried not to let them down,” Wentz said. “Ted Larsen was a big influence for me. I saw how he handled himself, and how he took care of the line and led, and that helped shape me into the leader I am. I had some growing pains as a sophomore, but I’ve gotten better each time. There are no excuses this year.”
There aren’t any excuses for Wentz at the dining table either. To maintain his 300-pound frame, he typically orders a large “everything” omelet with guacamole and salsa — along with a side order of fruit — for breakfast. For lunch, he “takes it easy” with a sandwich and a smoothie, while dinner is typically either a large burrito or large sub.
“I love breakfast food,” Wentz said. “I can eat that any time of the day. We don’t have any real restrictions on what we can eat, but I don’t go out and just eat junk food.”
With preseason practice having begun, and the season quickly approaching, Wentz is looking forward to seeing his individual and team goals come to fruition.
“I just want to stay healthy,” he said about personal accolades. “It would be nice to be all-ACC and be recognized for postseason awards, but I really just want the team to be successful. We always have a goal of getting 10 or more wins, winning the ACC and winning the Orange Bowl. Anything more than that would be really nice.”