Former N.C. State QB Wilson picks Wisconsin over Auburn

Russell Wilson: He'll be wearing red for the Badgers, too. (AP photo)

Russell Wilson: He'll be wearing red as a Badger, too. (AP photo)

Well, here’s one one-year quarterback Auburn didn’t get. Russell Wilson, formerly of North Carolina State, committed Monday to Wisconsin, which was big news, since the last Immediate Impact Free Agent in college football landed at Auburn, where he stayed a few months and left with a BCS title and a Heisman Trophy.

This isn’t to say Russell Wilson will make the same splash as Cam Newton. (I say again: Cam Newton was the second-best collegiate player I’ve ever seen, trailing only Herschel Walker.) But Russell Wilson has already done far more as a collegian than Newton had upon his Auburn arrival, and he could have been the difference between the post-Cam Tigers falling from 14-0 to, say, 7-5.

But Wilson, who visited Auburn, opted to go elsewhere,  and there’s now a chance the Badgers will enter the season as Big Ten favorites. Michigan has a new coach, and so does Ohio State, and Nebraska is still in relocation mode. And having watched Wilson complete 28 of 41 passes for 368 yards and three touchdowns against Georgia Tech last fall, I can tell you he’s pretty darn good.

Wilson became a free agent because he’d already graduated from N.C. State but the Wolfpack wasn’t crazy about him spending the summer playing minor-league baseball for the Colorado Rockies. So the school released him from his scholarship, leaving him open to enrolling and playing immediately at another school. There was some thought that Wilson wouldn’t report to football practice until after the minor-league season ended in September, but hitting .228 in Class A ball has apparently led Wilson to quit baseball here and now.

There’s a footnote to this: The SEC voted recently to close the grad-student loophole, a kneejerk response to Jeremiah Masoli’s forced landing at Ole Miss last fall. (Masoli had been kicked off the team at Oregon.) That window will close on Oct. 1, 2011. But it would have been open had Wilson chosen Auburn, which he didn’t.

Ah, well. Can’t land them all, I guess.

By Mark Bradley

122 comments Add your comment

Hankie Aron

June 28th, 2011
3:09 pm

Hankie Aron

June 28th, 2011
3:09 pm

a win for the hankie!!

Hankie Aron

June 28th, 2011
3:11 pm

A good thing for us doggie fans

Mark Bradley

June 28th, 2011
3:13 pm

Kudos to you, Hankie.

me

June 28th, 2011
3:14 pm

Why is this news? He was a terrible player in the ACC and Wisconsin plays in the Slow 10.

Hankie Aron

June 28th, 2011
3:15 pm

me- he was a solid player in the ACC, hello mcfly?

Hankie Aron

June 28th, 2011
3:16 pm

My first taste of kudos is well not bad, not bad I say

Mark Bradley

June 28th, 2011
3:17 pm

He has passed for 6,500 yards the past two seasons. That’s terrible?

me

June 28th, 2011
3:18 pm

Does anyone not remember Mr. Wilson vs. South Carolina?? GAWWWWD he was turrible <Charles Barkley Voice

Bryan G.

June 28th, 2011
3:19 pm

Mark,

Wouldn’t you think Auburn could afford him after Cam left and opened up some salary cap space for the Tigers?

Paul H

June 28th, 2011
3:20 pm

I’m glad Auburn isn’t getting Cam Newton Lite. He will be a star in the big and slow Weak 10.

DC

June 28th, 2011
3:23 pm

I don’t have sour grapes..but I think AU attempted to go get him but didn’t make the push like Wisconsin did…lets face it AU has gotten every QB they wanted since Gussy has been there. We got some great QB recruits this year and getting another in Feb.

On to WIscy, they were great last year and adding this kid will put them over the top. You don’t have to be the best team in the land to go undefeated in that conference…don’t be surprised if they are in the NC this year.

chewyandrw

June 28th, 2011
3:23 pm

me-Must be an SEC fan…there are other conferences that produce good, solid football players. The NFL is full of guys who were ACC, Big 10, Pac-10, Big East, Conf USA, etc, etc. I recognize the SEC as teh best conference out there but there are quality players elsewhere, especially quarterbacks. Besides Peyton (who choked his way out of SEC Championships) name other recent SEC quarterback who has made a huge impact in the NFL. And don’t give me Eli.

Brent

June 28th, 2011
3:23 pm

Doing a good job pickin’ up Shultzie’s slack while he’s on vacation. Thanks Mark

Mark Bradley

June 28th, 2011
3:33 pm

Bryan G., you did it: You made me laugh.

Old Dawg

June 28th, 2011
3:36 pm

.228 in A-ball? Does that even earn hamburger money? Can you imagine what would have happened if he had moved to the breaking-ball heavy Southern League?

Good luck to him in the Slow 10. Or is it 12? 13?

me

June 28th, 2011
3:39 pm

With all due respect, I believe the National Championship goes through the SEC my friend.

Bryan G.

June 28th, 2011
3:39 pm

Belated Kudos, Mark?

off the MARK

June 28th, 2011
3:41 pm

Mark,

Cam Newton was not an “Immediate Impact Free Agent” like you claim. He was no different than any other JUCO player that has come before or will come after him. He still had one more year of eligibility before entering the draft. Auburn was counting on Cam for 2 years when he was signed (hence why they attempted to plug the hole with Wilson). Please get your facts straight so the uneducated masses will not regurgitate incorrect information.

Mark Bradley

June 28th, 2011
3:42 pm

Belated kudos, BG.

Ron Vander Kelen

June 28th, 2011
3:42 pm

Hitting .228? Maybe the Braves could sign him …

Hankie Aron

June 28th, 2011
3:46 pm

off the MARK- Who cares, Cam may have had somewhat different circumstances but it doens’t matter. Wilson might be will be a one and done guy too.

Old Tech fan in NC

June 28th, 2011
3:50 pm

He graduated in three years. He did receive a $250k signing bonus.
The team he selected seems to be a running team and he is a scrambling passer=? Makes me wonder.

DC

June 28th, 2011
3:52 pm

Hankie…and who cares about that either…not like most of these kids want to go to college anyway…they are forced to due to NFL restrictions…also its not like you keep up with your teams SAT scores…rather their 40 time scores…

Next point…

off the MARK

June 28th, 2011
3:52 pm

Hankie….facts are facts. MB knows better! If Cam Newton was such an immediate impact guy, why did the talking head know-it-alls have him listed well below such star QBs as Jordan Jefferson, John Brantley, Greg McIlroy, Jeremiah Masoli, etc…..???

http://www.the-mainboard.com/forum/index.php?action=printpage;topic=61436.0

Davisassoc

June 28th, 2011
3:52 pm

Mark, never saw Bo? Too bad, guess you’re too young…as Howie Long has often said, Bo is the best ever…too bad a fluke accident cut it short.

NoGaGator

June 28th, 2011
3:57 pm

Wilson made the right choice since UW runs a very similar offense to NCS.

I disagree with Mark in that I believe Cam had the single best 1 season that I’ve ever seen. Is Wilson as good? It’s hard to see anyone topping Cam from last year.

From everything I’ve read and heard however, Wilson is a great young man, something that Cam needs work on.

off the MARK

June 28th, 2011
3:57 pm

my point is that the situation is totally different given the fact that Wilson has 1 year of eligibility and a career’s worth of statistics and accomplishments and Newton was a great unknown with 2 years of eligibility (like most JUCO guys, some have 3). It is apples to oranges, but you rubes cannot see the difference.

Hollywould

June 28th, 2011
3:57 pm

Davis, Walker was before Bo but I agree. Bo was the better back!! War Eagle

S GA AU FAN

June 28th, 2011
3:58 pm

We got our man, Kiehl Frazier and his backup, Zeke Pike.

Good luck Mr. Wilson.

DC

June 28th, 2011
4:02 pm

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

KR

June 28th, 2011
4:15 pm

While I believe Wilson could have been an asset to Auburn this season, I also think his presence could have caused morale problems for the quarterbacks already there. With only one season of eligibility left, I’m not sure it would be worth the risk. However, he seems to have chosen a school that fits his needs better and I wish him luck.

Jingle Dingle

June 28th, 2011
4:15 pm

Mark, What about BO?? Number 3??

GTT

June 28th, 2011
4:19 pm

He did see Bo. Bo, as a football player, falls behind Walker.

Jackets 2011

June 28th, 2011
4:20 pm

NC State is nuts for releasing Wilson from his scholarship. I don’t care who the 2nd stringer is, I would rather face him next year. But if you must Wolfpack, then thank you.
This seems less a principled action than one of stubbornness or excessive control.

ASG = JERKS

June 28th, 2011
4:20 pm

The money was not enough he was heard saying.

U

June 28th, 2011
4:23 pm

Enter your comments here

Un-Tank

June 28th, 2011
4:24 pm

Auburn got the big head and figured it didn’t have to dole out as much this go ’round.

ted williams head

June 28th, 2011
4:34 pm

this is old news Mark it was out this AM

James Stephenson

June 28th, 2011
4:52 pm

In what universe could Bo be considered a better back than H. Walker. Walker had the TD record, in 3 years mind you, and less games played and was only broken recently by Tebow, who had 4 years and more games, and got to count his bowl games. I am sorry but production matters and Bo while good enough to be the second best back out of the SEC, can not catch Walker.

TechFan04

June 28th, 2011
4:56 pm

“Cam Newton was the second-best collegiate player I’ve ever seen, trailing only Herschel Walker.”

Barry Sanders makes both of them look weak.

Just Me

June 28th, 2011
5:36 pm

Mark Bradley
What did you give Jeff for his Birthday? A bottle of WINE and some cheese? HAHAH.

Wilson should just go play Baseball. He is not going to improve his Draft Stock that much playing QB one more year IMHO.

BjohnDawg

June 28th, 2011
5:38 pm

this guy carried State to some wins last year with his arm and his legs. Big pickup for Badgers.

And while Auburn did free up some salary cap…they did not want to pay the luxury tax.

bamaguy

June 28th, 2011
5:58 pm

If you are looking to “polish your star” for the NFL draft why would you chose go up against SEC teams every week, especially when you come from the ACC? Nice to see a star student-athlete who actually graduated. Good luck to him.

bamaguy

June 28th, 2011
6:01 pm

*Mark had to say second-best behind Hershel because this is Georgia and the primary function of the Sports Section is to sell newspapers and to do that you have to pander to the UGA fans. But all newspapers do it. The Birmingham News doesn’t give exactly unbiased coverage of the Crimson TIde.

SHOW ME THE MONEY

June 28th, 2011
6:54 pm

OBVIOUSLY(THIS TIME) THE MONEY WASN’T ENOUGH!!!!

SHOW ME THE MONEY

June 28th, 2011
6:58 pm

WITHOUT LOWDER,DYE & JACOBS ARE LOSING THIER TOUCH!!! SHOULD HAVE LET THAT “GOLD TOOTHEE” TOWEL SWINGER” ‘CROOT HIM…….HE’D GET’TER DONE!!!!

The Alpha Male

June 28th, 2011
7:53 pm

Wilson couldn’t get $180,000 like Newton now that Lowder is broke and YellaWood and his cronies are under investigation

KJ

June 28th, 2011
8:04 pm

“Wilson complete 28 of 41 passes for 368 yards and three touchdowns against Georgia Tech”

Yeah, but who HASN’T done this?