For Russell Wilson, the past year was an exciting time. After leaving NC State, where he threw for 8,545 yards and 76 touchdown's in three seasons, the Virginia native was selected in the fourth round of the MLB Draft by the Colorado Rockies. He went on to play in their farm system before realizing that he wanted to finish out his already spectacular college football career.
Now, Wilson is set to bring his dominant play over to the Big Ten after torching the ACC for three seasons. So how will this move affect his new team and the entire conference?
With Wilson in the picture, the Badgers now have two quarterbacks who potentially could be starting on week one. Jon Budmayr has worked hard this spring and appeared to be well on his way to starting in the opener. But with Wilson's arrival in Madison, Budmayr's job may soon be working on the sidelines, watching his peers on the field.
Clearly, Wilson is by far and away the best quarterback on this roster. Though, Budmayr has reportedly improved this offseason, there's no way that Wilson, who put his baseball career on hold to play at Wisconsin, will not be starting come week one.
With that said, the rest of the Big Ten will now have to prepare for Wilson's style of play. The All-ACC quarterback possesses skills as both a passer and a playmaker. In 2010, Wilson rushed for 435 yards and nine touchdowns.
Before his arrival, Wisconsin was already viewed by many as a favorite to win the Big Ten Conference. Between Ohio State's seemingly never-ending violations, Penn State's log jam at quarterback, and Michigan's reliance on one player, the Big Ten teams have their fair share of vulnerabilities.
Nebraska, the new team to the conference, is also considered a favorite in the Big Ten; however, they reside in what I believe is the easier side of the conference, but they will still have to play against Wisconsin, Ohio State and Penn State.
The Huskers should sport the toughest defense in the conference, with three Pre-Season All-American's in their starting lineup. The first conference game Wilson will have to deal with? Those Nebraska Cornhuskers. It will get easier from then on out.
According to Andy Baggot of Madison.com, Wilson's decision to sign with Wisconsin signifies the arrival of the school's most prolific passer before he even takes a snap in the red and white. But we all know that statistics don't transfer like players do, so this is all from a perspective view. Baggot reports that if Wilson had put up the same numbers he did at NC State in Wisconsin, he would be the school's all-time leader in passing, attempts, completions, and touchdown passes.
That's pretty impressive no matter how you look at it.
There's a reason why so many Big Ten experts and blogs have been covering this story: Wilson is a dynamic quarterback who could potentially lead Wisconsin into a National Title race.
Oh, and don't forget about Wisconsin's dangerous one-two punch in the backfield. Montee Ball and James White combined for 32 rushing touchdowns and nearly 2,000 yards last season. If you plug in an effective quarterback who can make plays with his arm and legs, then the Wisconsin offense goes from being one of the best in the conference to being one of the best in the nation.
But we've all seen the craziness that is college football. Who knows, maybe Wilson won't be able to get into a rhythm in Madison, or be able to pick up on the offense as well as he did in NC State. However, judging from what I've seen from him in his three seasons in the ACC, he should have no trouble adjusting to life in the Big Ten -- something that could doom the other 11 Big Ten teams.
We will all find out on October 1st when Nebraska visits Madison. A game that already had the national media's attention and hype, just got a whole lot better.
- Josh Harvey -