Earlier today, Wilson took a page from LeBron James’ decision and created Decision Part II when he announced that he would continue his college football career in Wisconsin for the Wisconsin Badgers. But is anyone to blame? Is it a good fit? How does O’Brien and the Wolfpack feel now that their best player, since Philip Rivers, rides off into the sunset?
When ESPN released rumors of Wilson choosing to further his football career with the Badgers, I have to admit that part of me was a little surprised. As documented in the past, I always thought that college football was a better path for him (http://triadsportsdaily.com/post/5844290110). But with a professional career already on lock-down and initial comments from the Rockies that they expected RW to be playing baseball for the duration of this season, I thought that he may stay swinging the bat.
The wildcard was his deceased father. His father, who has passed away, wanted Wilson to one day play professional football. And he now has a better chance at doing so.
But now that he is headed to be a Badger instead part of the Wolfpack for his last year of eligibility, is anyone to blame? Some will say Russell himself is at fault while some would say that Tom O’Brien is the man to blame. I see both sides. Nonetheless, Wilson makes it sound like he was forced to hit the road. Even as I sit listening to Wilson discuss his newest decision, you can still tell he has a lot of passion for the Wolfpack program, and that he thought he would finish his college career there. The instant blame shifts towards O’Brien. He sent Wilson packing because he wanted a devoted player, and now he better hope replacement Mike Glennon fits the build.
For now, let us all let bygones be bygones. RW is a cheesehead. But I sit on the fence if this is a good fit for Wilson’s game and future career. The professional college football pundits believe that this makes Wisconsin an automatic contender for a BCS bid and a Big Ten title, and I think that he has that kind of star power. But ONLY if played in the right system.
The Big Ten is all about hefty play in the trenches, with limited creativity from the quarterback. I can firmly attest that this past season with the Wolfpack, O’Brien attempted to make Wilson more of a pocket quarterback with less imagination and it cost him. He threw a career high 14 interceptions, with some coming at very costly times. Why? Because he had to stay in the pocket.
The same results could be detrimental to his game at Wisconsin, in the Big Snooze, instead of when he could have possibly played in the SEC for Auburn- imagine that offensive creativity! The only flip side of choosing Wisconsin over Auburn is the plethora of talent that will surround Russell, is much larger for his chosen destination. It could give him more wins for his career, more opportunities to show off his talent, to eventually give him more looks from NFL scouts.
So he made his own decision, while all NC State fans (Tom O’Brien included) sat and watched. How do they feel?
I don’t care what kind of guts O’Brien has, he has to be cringing a little bit today. To see your best player of the program since the beloved Philip Rivers, walk away has to be depressing. O’Brien has his reasons for standing tall, which I respect to the utmost, but you still have to respect what Wilson has done for the university in the past three seasons. State fans and TOB alike can’t really do anything but feel desperate until Glennon takes the field, but O’Brien did give us some lasting words saying:
“We appreciate all of Russell’s contributions to NC State, and we wish him nothing but the best in his future.”
Decision Part II brings up plenty of questions. Some difficult to answer at the current moment. But what can be seen is that Wilson is taking his talents to Wisconsin rather than South Beach, and we will be able to see those talents on the opening Thursday night game between the Badgers and UNLV.