Former North Carolina State quarterback Russell Wilson is headed to Wisconsin, potentially solving one of the biggest trouble spots standing between the Badgers and a Big Ten title.
Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said Monday that Wilson will compete for the Badgers’ starting job in the fall. The two-sport star most recently played in the Colorado Rockies’ minor league system but apparently is ready to hang up his baseball spikes.
“This is an unusual situation, especially for a program that prides itself on developing players throughout their careers, as we do here at Wisconsin,” Bielema said in a statement released by the school. “However, this is a special situation and Russell is the type of player and person that fits very well with our team.”
Wilson has one year of eligibility remaining and can play right away. He will attend graduate school at UW.
Wilson’s arrival could fill a glaring need for the Badgers, who must replace the solid play of quarterback Scott Tolzien after their run to the Rose Bowl. Wilson could make the Badgers a favorite in the conference.
Wisconsin’s offense failed to score a touchdown in the spring game in April as prospective starters Jon Budmayr and Joe Brennan both struggled under center. Joel Stave appeared to be the sharpest quarterback of the bunch in the spring game, but he is a true freshman.
Bielema said at the time that those three quarterbacks “aren’t anywhere where we need them to be for us to be a competitive team in the fall.”
In his three seasons with the Wolfpack, Wilson threw for 8,545 yards and 76 touchdowns with 26 interceptions.
In 13 games for the Wolfpack last season, Wilson completed 58.4 percent of his passes for 3,563 yards with 28 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Wilson also rushed for 435 yards and nine touchdowns last season.
The 5-11, 201-pound Wilson is a native of Richmond, Va.
Wilson was drafted by the Rockies last year and hit .228 with three home runs and 15 RBIs as a second baseman for their Single-A affiliate in Asheville.
His long-standing desire to play both sports ultimately led to his early departure from N.C. State. Coach Tom O’Brien released the all-Atlantic Coast Conference quarterback two months ago largely because his baseball commitments kept him from taking part in offseason workouts.
He also considered Auburn before settling on Wisconsin