It seemed like an easy bet when Russell Wilson committed to play his senior year at Wisconsin that he would be in the discussion for individual awards and have the Badgers in the thick of things for a Big 10 title, and perhaps even in the national championship discussion. Through the first five games, Wilson has more than lived up to expectations in Madison. The Badgers’ quarterback has led his team to a perfect 5-0 record, and thrown for 1,391 yards and 12 TDs.
Wilson played three seasons for North Carolina State then dipped his toe in the Major League Baseball waters by playing a bit with the Colorado Rockies organization. He decided that he wanted to play his final season of football to show what he was capable of, but NC State coach Tom O’Brien decided to release the quarterback from his scholarship because baseball kept him from offseason workouts.
Say it with me Wisconsin fans: “Thanks Tom.” Wilson threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another as the Badgers throttled Nebraska 48-17 Saturday night, a game that thrust the Badgers firmly into the national championship discussion and Wilson into the Heisman Trophy talk.
Russell Wilson joined The Dan Patrick Show to discuss the environment at Camp Randall Stadium this past Saturday night, his journey from NC State to professional baseball to Madison, why he was released at North Carolina State after deciding to return to college for one final year of college football eligibility, if he hopes to be a two-sport star professionally, and whether he believes he’s ready for the NFL right now.
How different is the environment playing at Wisconsin compared to North Carolina State?:
“Obviously being up here and playing in the Big Ten it’s a great conference. In my opinion it’s the best conference going on right now. … Playing a team like a Nebraska, it’s great tradition and they brought a great crowd. But there’s no better place to play than Camp Randall. It’s an awesome atmosphere.”
Explain how you got to Wisconsin:
“I promised my dad I’d graduate in three years, so I got my communications degree from North Carolina State University and ended up getting drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the fourth round, which was a tremendous blessing in my life. Then my dad ended up passing away, so I went back to NC State and played there my junior year and ended up going through spring training and Coach O’Brien thought it was within the best interest of North Carolina State for them to move on. I wanted to go back there, but I just prayed about it and Wisconsin came down to my favorite place to go. I thought it was the best situation for me and for my career in terms of football and just progressing as a quarterback.”
Were you trying to decide between baseball and football when O’Brien said that?:
“I had the opportunity to go back and I had another year left. I wanted to pursue my football career still. I didn’t want to give up on it. … It didn’t end up working out at NC State, but it’s worked out well here.”
How big of a factor was Wisconsin’s massive offensive line in your decision?:
“I came up here and took a visit and I was extremely impressed by the offensive line and their size. When you see these guys, you wonder, ‘How big can these guys get?’ They’re 6-5, 320-plus pounds, pretty much every single one of them.”
So is your future in football or baseball?:
“My future is this bye week and then Indiana next.”
Do you want to be a two-sport star?:
“I think that I’m blessed enough to play two sports at a very high level, but when it comes down to it, I just want to do whatever’s in the best interest of my family. … I’m still in the Rockies organization. I’m glad to be in that organization. It’s a great organization to be in. In terms of football, I’m definitely going to pursue football for sure and see how things work out.”
Do you think you’re pro-ready right now?:
“I think I am. I think that with my knowledge of the game, knowledge of protections, understanding of how to throw the football … I think that I’m definitely ready. I think I can grow every single day though. I’m trying to be the best quarterback there is in college football and then, you know, eventually one day down the road, maybe in the NFL.”
So you came back to show people that you have the ability to play on the big stage?:
“Yeah, definitely. I wanted to show everybody that I have the ability to play in the NFL. In my opinion, I’ve always felt that.”