• 45°

College Football: Don't blame Wilson for fleeing to Wisconsin

By Caulton Tudor
Raleigh News and Observer
MADISON, Wisc. — Wisconsin didn’t just get a quarterback on Monday. With Russell Wilson, the Badgers got a Heisman Trophy candidate.
N.C. State, on the other hand, got what coach Tom O’Brien, many Wolfpack fans and Wilson’s former teammates could sense from the moment he was granted a scholarship release in early May — a potentially frustrating chance to see Wilson play quarterback for a different team.
In parts of two minor league baseball seasons, it was apparent Wilson didn’t have major league potential. He may yet take another stab at the sport, but Wilson will turn 23 in November and doesn’t yet have a feel for the strike zone.
That Wilson would return to football was a near certainty from the time his batting average seemed to get stuck in the .225 range with the Class A Asheville Tourists.
Just as quickly, O’Brien was trapped in the equivalent of a baseball run-down.
If the coach had saved the quarterback job for Wilson, there’s a chance red-shirt junior Mike Glennon, having graduated in May, could have used the same immediate-eligibility option as a graduate student that Wilson used to transfer.
Some Wolfpack fans may resent Wilson’s decision, and that’s marginally understandable.
Wilson made himself the face of N.C. State football and emerged against long odds to become one of the best quarterbacks in ACC history. He rivaled former Pack star Philip Rivers in terms of sheer popularity.
No one, however, should blame Wilson for taking advantage of the transfer rules and for wanting to keep his football career alive.
At barely 6 feet tall (if that), Wilson has only a slim chance of getting a decent shot at playing in the NFL regardless of what he accomplishes at Wisconsin.
But Wilson has been overcoming the size issue in football most of his life. He’s not going to give up on the NFL dream until every door has been closed.
The upshot of the development will be a world of pressure on almost everyone directly involved.
There’ll be pressure on Wilson to excel at Wisconsin in a new offense against unfamiliar defenses.
There’ll be pressure on Glennon to succeed in his first real season as a college player. Working behind Wilson and on a team that played a lot of tight games, Glennon hasn’t seen enough true game action to judge his abilities.
And there’ll be pressure on O’Brien. If Glennon struggles or is hurt, a certain amount of second-guessing will be inescapable.
But in the final analysis, everyone did what he thought was best under the circumstances.
O’Brien is getting paid to oversee a program, meaning he had to pay at least some attention to the quarterback picture for 2012.
Wilson wanted to keep playing at N.C. State, but not as much as he wanted to keep playing football period.
Given a career mulligan, perhaps Wilson would have put an end to his baseball career a year ago. But you can’t blame a guy for cashing in on a $250,000 contract offer, either.
There are ramifications galore for all parties, but there’s no reason to assign fault to anyone.

Comments

Comments closed.

Business

Weak jobs report spurs questions about big fed spending

News

Judge limits footage that family can see of deputy shooting in Elizabeth City

Sports

Woodland, two others share lead; Mickelson plays much worse but will still be around for weekend at Quail Hollow

Business

Former NHL player to open mobster themed bar in Raleigh

Nation/World

California population declines for first time

News

GOP leaders differ on bottom line for state spending

News

Police: Man killed in shootout with officers in Winston-Salem

Crime

Man charged after thieves rob would-be gun buyers of wallets, shoes

Crime

Blotter: Four added to sheriff’s most wanted list

High School

High school football: Some anxious moments, but Hornets win state title

Local

Photos: Salisbury High Hornets win big in 2AA championship game

Local

County manager outlines projections for the upcoming fiscal year budget, suggests uses for stimulus money

Business

Miami-based Browns Athletic Apparel opens second screen printing location in Salisbury

News

At funeral, fallen Watauga deputies remembered as ‘heroes’

Coronavirus

COVID-19 cluster identified at Granite Quarry Elementary

Coronavirus

More than half of North Carolinians have now taken at least one vaccine shot

Local

City hopes to cover expenses in 2021-22 budget with surplus revenue generated this year

Local

Fallen tree proves to be a blessing for local nonprofit Happy Roots

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Health department drops quarantine time from 14 to 10 days

Crime

Blotter: More than $100,000 in property reported stolen from Old Beatty Ford Road site

Local

City fights invasive beetles by injecting trees with insecticide

Local

City names downtown recipients for federal Parks Service grant

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs 2021-22 budget priorities, supports buying body cameras