Philip Rivers is understandably the gold standard for quarterback prospects looking to make their mark in the NFL.
After all, he's a legend who ranks up there with the all-time greats….and shows no sign of slowing down.
In 2018, Rivers moved into sixth all-time in passing touchdowns (474) and eighth in career passing yards (54,656). He tied Hall of Fame QB Johnny Unitas for the 10th-most career regular-season victories in NFL history (118) and tied Peyton Manning for the third-most consecutive starts by a QB in NFL history (208).
Thus, NFL prospects can only dream of having the type of career that Rivers has authored over 15 memorable seasons.
As a result, quite a few have been in contact with the future Hall of Famer as they go through the draft process, but one stands out in particular – Ryan Finley.
After all, the highly touted quarterback starred the past few seasons at NC State, the very school Rivers helped put on the map nearly two decades ago.
"I just missed a speech he gave to our team three years ago about heart, tough and together, so unfortunately I missed that," Finley said about a fiery talk Rivers gave to his alma mater that actually went viral. "But everything I've heard about Philip Rivers is amazing and I'm excited to meet him in person."
That doesn't mean the two haven't been in contact. In fact, number 17 has kept tabs on Finley, exchanging texts and voicemails during the pre-draft process.
"I've corresponded with him over the phone and he's been a big help to me, so I'm excited to meet him in person," Finley said. "He's just sent me some texts and a couple of those voice messages over text just to give me advice and just wish me luck throughout the process. (He also did) after games and big games throughout my career."
The 6-4, 213-pound Finley recently finished an impressive senior campaign in which he was an All-ACC first-team pick after completing 436 of 484 attempts (67.4 percent) for 3,928 yards, 25 touchdowns, and only 11 interceptions.
Finley's also efficient with the football as his 339 straight passes without a pick ranks as the second-most in school history. The leader is Russell Wilson with 379, and that mark also happens to rank as the best in FBS history.
Which brings us to the next point: the QB factory that is NC State.
Quite a few NFL quarterbacks of late have suited up for the Wolfpack, including Russell Wilson, Mike Glennon and Jacoby Brissett to name a few.
"NC State, that QB U," Finley said. "That's what we refer to it as. That's a blessing for me to be a part of that."
Of course, Rivers is the one who started it all, establishing a pipeline to the pros that NC State is now known for.
Thus, as Finley looks to make his NFL dreams come true, he can't help but look to Rivers as a chief motivating factor.
"Absolutely, the success he's had (motivates me)," he said. "I think he's done it the right way. His career has been pretty awesome. I think Philip Rivers has done it right in my opinion and not even because he went to NC State, but just everything I hear about him. Everything you hear about him is good. Just being a family man (as well)."