While Ohio State takes another blow, Wisconsin appears to be front-runner in Wilson sweepstakes

By Sam Zastrow

As Russell Wilson gets closer and closer to making a decision on where he will play football this fall, the Badgers look increasingly like a favorite to land the former N.C. State quarterback.

Tom Mulhern reports a UW source told him the visit was a “grand slam” and that Wilson “definitely liked Madison better than Auburn.”

Wilson spent about 24 hours in Madison between Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon. He reportedly met with receiver Nick Toon Tuesday night to talk about football and Madison and met with offensive coordinator Paul Chryst Wednesday to discuss the Badgers’ offense.

As Mulhern suggests, if Wilson does indeed choose to use his final year of eligibility at Wisconsin, the power struggle at the top of the Big Ten will undergo another momentus shift. Ohio State, heavy favorites to win the Big Ten just a few months ago, lost head coach Jim Tressel and quarterback Terrelle Pryor in the span of less than a week. It’s tough to imagine the Buckeyes achieving the same level of success they’ve enjoyed in recent years without those two leading the team.

On the other hand, the Badgers return three honorable mention all-Big Ten offensive linemen and two great running backs in Montee Ball and James White. As Adam Rittenberg pointed out Wednesday, inexperience and uncertainty at quarterback is arguably the biggest concern for the Badgers as the 2011 season approaches. Many people think Wilson could solve that problem, and the stats he’s put up at N.C State in the last few years seem to back that up.

However, if Wilson ends up being a Badger, he’ll have a lot to learn about Wisconsin’s complicated, pro-style offense in a short amount of time. Current penciled-in starter Jon Budmayr is entering his third year in the system, so Wilson certainly won’t be named the starter by default. The fact that Wilson will have to absorb as much of Wisconsin’s playbook as he can in time for the season indicates he will probably make his decision very soon.

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