The Russell Wilson saga finally appears to be over, and the ending looks like a happy one for Badger fans.
Multiple outlets are reporting Wilson has chosen to transfer to Wisconsin and will make an official announcement at 2:30 Monday on ESPN’s “College Football Live.”
Like former Badger running back and brand new Pitt Panther Zach Brown, Wilson has already graduated, so he is available to play immediately after transferring. He was a three-year starter at N.C. State, throwing for 3,563 yards and 28 touchdowns last season before choosing to play minor league baseball for the Class A Nashville Tourists this year.The N.C. State coaching staff was fed up with Wilson’s desire to play both sports, and released him from his scholarship last spring.
Wilson was reportedly “95 percent” certain to play football in the fall, but even after visits to Auburn and Wisconsin, he took a few weeks to make sure he really wanted to leave baseball.
Now, as UW head coach Bret Bielema said, “Russell Wilson will come in and compete for the starting quarterback.” He’ll have to compete with redshirt sophomore Jon Budmayr, who was penciled in as the starter before he struggled in the spring game and Wilson showed interest in the Badgers.
Physically, the two quarterbacks are very similar. Wilson stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 200 punds. Budmayr is six feet tall and 195 pounds. Both have strong arms and could bring an element of a vertical passing game the Badgers lacked with the reliable but physically limited Scott Tolzien at quarterback the last two seasons.
On paper, the lone physical difference between the two is Wilson’s mobility. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in three seasons at N.C. State. And of course, while Budmayr has never made a start, Wilson brings a wealth of starting experience. He’s shown he can compete and put up big numbers at the Bowl Subdivision level, while Budmayr only has a few appearances during games the Badgers already had in the bag.
If Wilson does win the job and is able to learn the Badgers’ relatively complex playbook in a reasonable amount of time, he could be a star. With Ohio State and Michigan reeling, the Badgers could make another run at a Big Ten title and assert themselves as an elite program at the national level, and the addition Wilson could prove to be what pushes them over the edge.