Ravens rookie sixth-round quarterback Keith Wenning already has some good mentors.
Wenning worked out with several NFL quarterbacks last summer before his senior year of college football, and plans to do so again when the Ravens break this offseason.
Ball State gave its players off during the week of the 4th of July last summer, but the program's strength and conditioning coach had a friend who runs a gym, Fitness Quest 10, in San Diego. That friend, Todd Durkin, is also the personal trainer of the New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees, among many other NFL stars.
"I didn't want to take that week off. I wanted to keep working," Wenning said.
In addition to Brees, Wenning also worked out with Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert and Chiefs backup quarterback Chase Daniels.
It was a week-long training session in which they lifted and did field drills together. It also gave Wenning a chance to pick the quarterbacks' brains a little bit and take note of their practices.
"One thing in working with Drew Brees, it's the detail he puts into everything. That's something I want to emulate every day I play the quarterback position," Wenning said.
"Carson Palmer is so cool and calm with everything he did. I think there are a lot of quarterbacks that have different attributes that you emulate."
Now Wenning gets to play behind Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, the MVP of Super Bowl XLVII.
"He's a great guy, a good person, a great quarterback," Wenning said. "I feel like I'm really blessed to be under him and learn from him. I'm going to try to pick at his game and learn as much as I can."
Learning is what Wenning is focusing on most at this point.
He's working in the classroom at least twice a day with Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak and Quarterbacks Coach Rick Dennison. Head Coach John Harbaugh joked that the young quarterbacks are "under siege" from Kubiak and Dennison to have their eyes and feet where they're supposed to be.
"It's a new offense, it's a new system for me. I'm learning, trying to get that as fast as possible," Wenning said. "I'm pleased with where I'm at and their coaching, so I'm excited. Practices have been good so far. It was a learning experience the first couple days, but minicamp went really well."
During the Ravens' rookie minicamp, the 6-foot-3 Ball State product connected on several deep passes to his wide receivers. He showed good loft on the passes, dropping them gently over the receivers' shoulders.
Wenning also zipped in a number of passes over the middle and outside the numbers to tight end Crockett Gillmore. The rookie hardly had any incompletions.
"Really nice touch and also he has a strong arm," Harbaugh said. "He is a big, strong guy."
Wenning owns the Ball State career record for touchdowns passes (92), passing yards (11,402), pass completions (1,035) and pass attempts (1,642). He threw for 250 or more yards 22 times during his career, and topped 300 yards 16 times.
While Ball State isn't in the SEC, it's still a high level of play in the MAC along with schools such as Bowling Green, Buffalo (who had No. 5 overall pick linebacker Khalil Mack), Kent State and Northern Illinois.
"The quarterback on the field has to know what everybody is doing," Wenning said. "It takes a lot of studying, a lot of preparation, a lot of time. But I've done that my whole life playing the quarterback position, putting in that work. I expect nothing less from myself than to put in the time."