Posted by Mike Wendt on July 2, 2011 Jump To Comments
While the NFL and NBA continue to fight over new collective bargaining agreements I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at an upcoming season that any Wisconsin fan should be excited about. With the recent announcement that former N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson will transfer to the Badgers for his last year of eligibility, many people across the great state of Wisconsin are already talking about a return to the Rose Bowl, or perhaps something even greater. Wilson’s skill set are unlike anything Badger fans have ever seen from quarterback, and his presence will fill a huge hole with the departure of the most efficient passer in school history in Scott Tolzien. So let’s take a closer look at Wilson.
Many fans are excited about Wilson, but few actually know the reason why he transferred to the Badgers. Wilson is a phenomenal athlete, so much so that he was a fourth round pick by the Colorado Rockies, which you would think would work out since football is in the fall and baseball is in the spring. The problem for Wilson was that when spring practice rolled around for football, he was off swinging a baseball bat. This upset N.C. State head coach Tom O’Brien, and it didn’t allow Wilson to prepare for the upcoming football season. Because he was absent from practice, O’Brien named Mike Glennon the starting quarterback, and gave Wilson an unconditional release from the team.
Wilson struggled in his first season with the Rockies minor league affiliate, only hitting .228 with three home runs and 15 RBI’s in 61 games. Wilson still had one year of eligibility left in college football despite already graduating, so he looked to find a home to play in 2011. His decision came down to two powerhouses who both had holes to fill at quarterback, Wisconsin and Auburn. Wilson eventually chose Wisconsin over Auburn because the Badgers are returning more starters on both sides of the than the Tigers, who are in a rebuilding year in the tough SEC.
Another reason Wilson chose Wisconsin is because for the first time in his life he’ll have a solid offensive line to throw behind. In his three years at N.C. State, Wilson was sacked a whopping 94 times, including 39 times last season. The Badgers offensive line is loaded with depth despite losing Gabe Carimi and John Moffit to the NFL. Wilson, who usually makes plays by scrambling out of the pocket, will have plenty of time to throw behind Wisconsin’s front line.
Like I said earlier, Wilson is unlike any quarterback Wisconsin has ever had. Last season he threw for 3,563 yards and 28 touchdowns. Both those numbers would shatter the current season records by a Badger quarterback in school history. Wilson is also a dual threat on the ground, as he ran for 435 yards and nine touchdowns for the Wolfpack last season.
Two of the biggest fans of Wilson have to be Monte Ball and James White. Without Wilson, teams would be able to stack the box and key in on the Badgers’ run game. Now, teams need to respect the passing game, which will allow the running backs to reach the second level of the defense much more frequently.
Another highlight of Wilson’s game is his ability to extend a play. Although he shouldn’t need to scramble out of the pocket and make guys miss, it’s good to know he can if the pocket breaks down. Take a look at some of his highlights at N.C. State. He’s going to give opposing defenses plenty of nightmares this season.
Although the sky’s the limit for Wilson and the Badgers this season, fans need to remember that Wilson will have less than two months to learn an entirely new system, and things could get rocky for the Badgers early if they can’t take care of business against the Cornhuskers in their first Big Ten Conference game. Wilson could be the missing piece to a national championship puzzle, but it’s important that the Badgers and their fans stick by the motto that head coach Brett Bielema has preached throughout his tenure at UW, take the season one game at a time, and go 1-0 every Saturday.
What are your thoughts about landing Wilson? How do you think the Badgers will do this season. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Twitter @MikeWendt7.