Monday, June 27, 2011

Wilson Brings High Expectations to Wisconsin

And just like that, the Badgers are National title contenders. That seems to be the feeling out of Madison today as Russell Wilson has decided to transfer to Wisconsin where he will without question be the Badgers starting quarterback next season. Sure, technically he'll be enrolled in a grad school program (he finished at N.C. State in four years and has one year of eligibility left) but nobody really cares about academics here. Wilson is coming to Wisconsin to play football, and by all indications he's going to have quite an impact.

The story on the kid is this - he went to N.C. State for four years, and was a pretty damn good player. But he was then drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 2010 MLB draft with the 140th pick, and has been spending his time most recently with their single-A affiliate, where he had been hitting .228 with three home runs and 15 RBI this season. It was his desire to play both sports that actually lead him to leave N.C. State a bit early, but he wants back on the gridiron and Wisconsin will be happy to comply.

In what came down to a race between the Badgers and the Auburn Tigers, Wilson selected the Badgers for some reason, most likely because the quarterback depth at Camp Randall isn't very deep. After the spring game, Jon Budmayr, a redshirt sophomore, was atop the depth chart with the talent behind him weak after that (a problem that will be solved once my main man Bart Houston gets to Madison, but for now is of great concern). Thanks to the magic of Wikipedia, the print screen button, and Microsoft Paint, here's a sample of the kid we're going to see in white and red this fall, on paper:

The Badgers are already known as a running team, but now to have a quarterback that can run a little bit as well is going to do what they call "open up the offense". Schematically, he might not fit with what the Badgers are used to running offensively, but that's because they've never had a player with the talent that Wilson has. From Darrell Bevell to Jim Sorgi, John Stocco to Tyler Donovan, and most recently Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin's signal-callers are historically nothing more than the dreaded term of "game-managers". Wilson is athletic, mobile, efficient, and exciting, and he's going to change the face of the Wisconsin Badgers offense, at least for this season.

Even before this move, you would have had to say that the Badgers were at least in the mix of favorites to win the Big Ten Championship, and with this latest acquisition that is even more the case. I still think the Badgers toughest contest is going to be October 1st against Nebraska, for both the talent on the other side of the ball and for the hype that the game will incur. But the Badgers have to be thinking right now that the Big Ten is theirs to lose, and with a weaker schedule this year (thank you Ohio State violations), four games in primetime, and a quarterback who is already a potential Heisman candidate, the Badgers could be in for a very good year.

Get to know your new quarterback by checking out this video made by either a) a member of the N.C. State PR staff, b) a communications major as a homework assignment, or c) a person who is a little too obsessed with this Russell Wilson fellow:


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