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June 27, 2011Scott Tolzien left a huge void at the quarterback position after leading Wisconsin to a Rose Bowl in his final season at UW.
Former North Carolina State standout Russell Wilson could help the Badgers get back to Pasadena in 2011.
After visiting campus earlier this month, Wilson, a three-year starter for the Wolfpack, gave a commitment to play for the Badgers this fall.
"Russell will come in and compete for the starting quarterback position," head coach Bret Bielema said in a release. "This is an unusual situation, especially for a program that prides itself on developing players throughout their careers, as we do here at Wisconsin.
"However, this is a special situation and Russell is the type of player and person that fits very well with our team."
Wilson is scheduled for his first post-decision interview on ESPN's "College Football Live" at 2:30 p.m. Monday.
An infielder for the Colorado Rockies' Class A affiliate in Asheville, N.C., Wilson will have one year of eligibility remaining.
Redshirt sophomore Jon Budmayr finished spring camp as the No. 1 quarterback on the UW depth chart. Depending on when Wilson will be able to join the program, a quarterback competition could be imminent.
Wilson finished his career at NC State with 8545 passing yards, 76 touchdowns and 26 interceptions. He led the Wolfpack to a 9-4 record in 2010 and capped his career in Raleigh off with a 23-7 win over West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl.
If for nothing else, Wilson adds much needed depth for a Badger squad that has no starting experience at the quarterback position.
Redshirt freshman Joe Brennan, true freshman Joel Stave and senior Nate Tice are the only other active quarterbacks on the current roster.
The following are comments from Wilson's interview on ESPN:
Why Wisconsin over Auburn?
Wilson: I think that with the coaching staff and the players that they have there from their experience and the tradition they have there, in terms of the fans and the players they've had there before, I'm truly excited about it. I think that's a great situation for me and I'm truly blessed.
Why not Auburn?
Wilson: Auburn is a great place and they have a great tradition there as well. I really prayed about it a lot and it really came down to a lot of different things. I'm truly blessed to be a Badger and I'm excited about the tradition there and to join the family there. I'm excited to meet my teammates and be around them.
If you decided not to play baseball, was there a possibility that you would have been playing another year at N.C. State?
Wilson: Yeah, definitely. I love N.C. State; it's a great place. I'm truly blessed to have gone there; truly blessed to have graduated in three years from N.C. State and to have gotten the opportunity to play football and baseball. It's a great situation for me in terms of where I am now and the Lord works things out in miraculous ways and I truly am blessed.
How do you adjust here at Wisconsin?
Wilson: I just take it one day at a time. I think it's important that I get to know my teammates on the field and off the field. Just really work hard every single day to be the best that I can be every single day. Hopefully the teammates will be welcoming; I know they will. I'm really excited about that and I'm going to be working hard every single day.
That's the important part, I want to be an additional leader to the team that they already have and just win a lot of games.
What insurances have you been given about starting this season?
Wilson: I never want to be told that I have the starting job. I never believe in that, I believe that being the competitor that I am that I have to compete every single day. Whether you're in Little League or big-time college football, or the NFL or Major League Baseball, I think it's about competition and being the best every single day. That's the most important part. Once I found out that I would be given the opportunity to compete and be the best I could be every single day, than I was truly excited about that.
What's the biggest challenge at this point in the season to transfer?
Wilson: More than anything, I have to learn the system and get accustom to everything, the fans and all that. I know they will be truly welcoming and I'm really excited about that. I'll be working hard every single day like I said earlier and I think that's an important part. I'll get there and throw to receivers and tight ends and running backs and just have a great time; truly enjoying the experience and what's it's all worth playing in the Big Ten.
What's the biggest challenge for you now playing in the Big Ten?
Wilson: You have to prepare, more than anything. I think the main thing that I've learned playing two sports - playing big-time college football in the ACC and playing professional baseball - is that you have to prepare mentally. I think that I have to truly prepare every single day to step out on that field and be the best that I can be, and that starts with practice. Both on the field and off the field and in the film room, classroom and in the community, those are all major factors that play into it.
How does your mindset change now wearing a Wisconsin uniform?
Wilson: I don't think anything changes. When you play in a great offense with great guys around you, I think the main thing is to just take it one play at a time and stay focused on the now and the task at hand. Every single play I want to execute whether I'm handing the ball off or throwing the ball, I want to execute and take advantage of the defense the best way possible.
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