PHILADELPHIA – Jack Stoll was getting ready to graduate high school in Colorado and was focused on attending the University of Nebraska, attending the Cornhuskers' spring game.
It was there that the tight end met Cam Jurgens.
“I’m talking to him the whole time and I’m thinking he’s coming in with me in this class,” said Stoll following Thursday’s hot-as-blazes practice. “Little did I know he was 15 years old. I was 18. So, he’s been a full-grown man since I knew him.”
It wasn’t until a few years later that Stoll and Jurgens became teammates and friends,
“I’ve been tight with Cam,” said Stoll. “We lived right next to each other in a tri-plex. When he got drafted, I could tell you it was a good day for me.”
Stoll said he and Jurgens are planning on getting a place, something Avonte Maddox and Dallas Goedert did when they entered the league in 2018.
Much has been made about two of the top defensive players in training camp after week 1 – CB James Bradberry and DL Brandon Graham – but if you’re looking for one of the top offensive players, or perhaps, the biggest surprise, it has to be Jurgens.
It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle when you’re drafted between a pair of defensive players that were key cogs in Georgia’s run to a national title last year.
It’s also easy to perhaps get a bit overlooked when there is really no job waiting for you, at least not, yet, with Jason Kelce still around.
But Jurgens has stood out.
Drafted in the second round, after Jordan Davis went in the first and Nakobe Dean in the third, Jurgens continues to excel in one-on-one blocking drills in full pads.
He added to his strong day on Tuesday with another solid session on Thursday when he stonewalled Marlon Tuipulotu. Earlier in the week, he stopped a Davis bull rush.
Jurgens' ability to anchor, which is an indication of his strength, has been noticeable during those drills, but he has also shown quickness and athleticism during individual drills with the ability to drive his shoulder into a defender engaged with a guard and get to the second level in a hurry.
“You notice exactly what you saw on tape,” said Kelce in the early days of camp. “He’s strong, he’s athletic, he’s physical. He’s a very athletic player, but he’s also locked in mentally. He’s got a great temperament. Since he’s been here this offseason his approach has been great. He’s got a very bright future ahead of himself, obviously.”
Stoll spelled Kelce on the first team for the final 11-on-11 work of Thursday’s steamy practice.
Stoll said his college buddy is better now than he was even in college, where he was a three-year starter at center.
“Oh, he’s better,” he said. “When he was there he was a tight end who was trying to learn how to play center in 2018, then 19, 20, he really stepped it up, then 21 obviously he became that dude at center.
“He’s continued to learn, continued to grow and he’s grabbed this playbook unbelievably well. He’ll tell me all the time he’s picking up the playbook really fast and a lot faster than they anticipated. It’s awesome seeing him do that. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do here.”
It’s not just Kelce teaching Jurgens, but the entire offensive line room and position coach Jeff Stoutland are molding him as well.
“Everybody in the O-line room is so helpful,” said Jurgens. “I try to sit next to (Kelce) and Isaac (Suemalo) as much as I can because they’re the smartest dudes in there and they’re really cerebral in explaining and teaching everybody in the room. Not just rookies, it’s everybody. Everybody is teaching and learning. It’s a great room to be a part of.”
The way it looks, Jurgens should be a part of that room for a very long time.
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Fan Nation Eagles Today and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglesmaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.