The Russell Effect

Russell Wilson made headlines in the summer when he took advantage of a NCAA graduate transfer rule that allowed him to compete right away at Wisconsin, resulting in an immediate impact for the program. Former Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist is doing the exact same thing and thanks to Wilson, that impact could again happen at Wisconsin.

MADISON - If it wasn't for senior quarterback Russell Wilson, there's a good chance former Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist would have had little interest in transferring to Wisconsin, let alone spend three days in the state's capital over the weekend on what was his final official visit.

"First and foremost, they are a great, great program," Crist told Badger Nation Sunday. "With the success that they have with a guy in Russell Wilson and the same situation that I am facing, I thought they have done things the right way in terms of handling that situation. It's a great team and a great coaching staff, which made it pretty enticing.

"Russell was clearly the biggest name in using this rule to our advantage," Crist added. "Just seeing the success he had was really exciting and obviously sparked a lot of interest in Wisconsin."

Much like Wilson, Crist is scheduled to graduate after three years and can take advantage of the same NCAA rule that benefited Wilson, allowing him to play immediately after transferring so long as he enrolls in a graduate program Notre Dame does not offer.

But while Wilson only spent one day in Madison, Crist flew in Friday and left Sunday, allowing him to watch a couple UW practices, study the offense with offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, tour the campus and the facilities and, what he said was the most important thing, getting a feel for the players and the coaches.

It also didn't hurt that he spent a lot of time talking to Wilson.

"Russell was great and there isn't enough time to talk about how great of a guy he is," Crist said. "What he's done and the type of guy and teammate he is is impressive. The biggest thing after talking with him is to trust your intuition and make the decision you feel good about. He spoke very highly and admitted he was biased toward Wisconsin, but he said that I have to make the best decision for me.

"In terms of how he was accepted, the team was great with him and that the team was the biggest decision why he came to Wisconsin. He said he had nothing but positive experiences with them."

Crist also had a sit down meeting with head coach Bret Bielema and like Wilson, wasn't promised the starting job should he choose to come to Wisconsin.

"I think there was a mutual interest and obviously I am going to compete for whatever opportunity is there," Crist said. "There are no promises made. It's about figuring out your role within the team and just help compliment the team. The team is great as it is right now."

Crist started nine games in 2010 before a season-ending patellar tendon tear (which came a year after he required reconstructive surgery on a torn ACL) and played in just four games this season. In three seasons, Crist has completed 199 of 338 passes for 2,327 yards, 16 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.

He has proclaimed himself ‘absolutely healthy.'

"All year I felt like my speed is exactly where it was before the injury and better in some areas," Crist said. "I felt great, strong and excited to have another opportunity to play some ball."

Having also visited Kansas and Delaware, Crist hopes to make his decision sometime in the next week between those three schools.

"It's a real important time in my life and it's all about making a decision that is best for me being able to play," Crist said. "It's been pretty hectic but at the same time it's been nice trying to get the feel for different schools. At this point, I have to weigh the pros and cons of all the schools I am looking at before making that final decision."


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