Don't know Lions rookie Cole Wick or Incarnate Word? Soon, you might

Lions rookie tight end Cole Wick, right, has a head start on earning a roster spot, following his impressive work during the spring. Duane Burleson/AP Photo

Cole Wick will see the look. He knows the look. He understands the look. At this point, he expects the look.

When he’s surrounded by players from Michigan and Ohio State, from Georgia and Oklahoma State, the typical "Where are you from?" question becomes a little bit more complicated.

Wick comes from the University of Incarnate Word, and you likely will need Google to figure out exactly where that is (San Antonio, Texas) and that the Incarnate Word Cardinals are Division I (FCS) in football.

Don’t feel bad. That’s the reaction Wick gets, too.

"Most of the time when other people ask me where did you come from, I get this look when I tell them I came from Incarnate Word, or the University of Incarnate Word," Wick said. "So just trying to make a name, not just for the school but myself."

So far, he has been coming close.

More than any other player in the Lions' camp -- which has players reporting Thursday, with the first practice set for Friday -- Wick has the opportunity to go from essentially nowhere to somewhere, fast.

He signed with Detroit as an undrafted free agent, and because of his size (6-foot-7) and the school he came from, he almost immediately became a curiosity. Then he received opportunities most undrafted rookies don’t receive, especially under Lions head coach Jim Caldwell.

By organized team activities and minicamp, Wick was working with the first unit because of injuries to Eric Ebron, Brandon Pettigrew and Timothy Wright. Short on tight ends, Detroit had little choice but to place Wick in with the starters.

When he didn’t look horribly out of place, that was a big step. Then he started to stand out and become noticed.

"I’ve never been really ever hyped before," Wick said. "Had the chance to be hyped up by anyone. It’s cool.

"I’m glad that I’ve had the opportunity to do the things I’ve done."

That could increase dramatically once training camp begins.

Though Ebron will return for the start of training camp, Pettigrew will begin camp on the physically unable to perform list, and it is not completely clear when he’ll be able to return to the lineup as he recovers from the torn ACL he suffered last year. So Wick’s path to a potential roster spot -- and definitive reps throughout the preseason -- is pretty clear.

If Wick continues to play well and put himself in the best position to win a job, it is something that could realistically happen. Then both Wick and Incarnate Word could have more attention than ever before.