Danny O'Brien Transferring to Wisconsin

By Jay Beck

‘Tis the season for college football transfers.  Yesterday it was reported that former Kansas quarterback, Jordan Webb, was heading to Colorado.  Today the news is out that former Maryland quarterback, Danny O’Brien, has decided he’ll finish his college career at Wisconsin.

O’Brien confirmed the news on Twitter this afternoon.

The fact that O’Brien is headed to Madison may be partially the reason Webb is headed to Colorado.  Webb had visited Wisconsin this spring and was believed to be considering the Badgers before ultimately deciding on the Buffaloes.  Or maybe, just maybe, the timing of Webb’s decision was just a plain coincidence.

O’Brien will have two year’s of eligibility remaining and chose Wisconsin over Penn State and Vanderbilt.

He leaves Maryland after two seasons as the starting quarterback, the first resulted in him being named to the 2010 Freshmen All-American team along with being named the ACC Rookie of the Year.

Last season, he played under a new coordinator, Gary Crowton, after James Franklin left to take the head job at Vanderbilt.  O’Brien struggled in Crowton’s offense and was eventually benched by first-year head coach, Randy Edsall.  Even though Crowton is no longer the Terps’ offensive coordinator, O’Brien decided his talents would be better put to use elsewhere.

Wisconsin also released a statement confirming the news.  “We’re excited that Danny has chosen to attend Wisconsin,” Brett Bielema said in the news release. “The first thing we did when we were aware of Danny’s interest was to try and find out what type of person he was and if he would fit into our program. From our dealings with him and all the things I have heard from those who have been around him, he is a tremendous person and has great character. He had a fantastic visit and our current players who met him came away impressed. Having graduated from Maryland in just three years, you know right away that he is a smart kid.”

Bielema, for the second year in a row, has to be breathing a sigh of relief this afternoon.  Last year, former North Carolina State quarterback, Russell Wilson, came to the rescue when the Badgers quarterback situation looked dire.  He was on campus for only one season, but led the Badgers to an 11 win season and their second consecutive Rose Bowl appearance.

With Wilson now gone as well, Wisconsin’s situation at quarterback was once again filled with uncertainty.  The situation became even more critical with potential replacements, Jon Budmayr and Bart Houston, missing spring practice due to injuries.  Those injuries left only two healthy quarterbacks on the roster, Joe Brennan and Joel Stave, neither who has any significant experience.  Brennan did appear in six games a season ago as Wilson’s backup.

With O’Brien now in the picture, the situation in Madison is certainly looking more promising.  With O’Brien’s past success in the ACC combined with Heisman candidate, Montee Ball, returning at running back, Wisconsin could once again be considered among the favorites in the Big Ten in 2012.

And just as a side note, O’Brien has to be thrilled he won’t have to wear those awful uniforms he was forced to wear at Maryland.  That in itself could be seen as one reason to transfer whether or not he experiences the same success on the field.

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