Auburn: Former NC State Quarterback Russell Wilson to Join Tigers?

Michael ThomasCorrespondent IIIMay 24, 2011

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 28:  Russell Wilson #16 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack rushes with the ball during the Champs Sports Bowl against the West Virginia Mountineers at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium on December 28, 2010 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

According to ESPN Insider Joe Schad, former NC State quarterback Russell Wilson is visiting the Auburn campus today to discuss the possibility of continuing his college career as the Tigers’ replacement for 2010 Heisman trophy winning quarterback Cam Newton.

Tough sell, huh?

Unlike any current 4- or 5-star high school recruit who fans hope can turn into an elite player, Wilson is already the real deal.

In his past three seasons at NC State, Wilson threw for 76 touchdowns and over 8,500 yards while tossing only 26 interceptions.  He never finished a season with a passer rating below 127.5.

Also relying on his mobility, Wilson has amassed over 1,000 career rushing yards to go along with 17 touchdowns.

Though independently impressive, Wilson’s statistics are even more impressive when considering he played for an NC State which finished 20-18 during his tenure and lacked any significant NFL-caliber talent.

If you are like me, you are probably wondering why such a successful player is even looking for a new team.  Shouldn’t he be already in the NFL or returning to NC State for his final season?

Unlike many other talented but troubled collegiate athletes who were kicked off their teams for poor behavior and frequent encounters with law enforcement, Wilson apparently chose to vacate his starting quarterback position to pursue a professional baseball career.

Facing the prospect of not identifying his starting quarterback early enough to prepare him for the spring game, Coach Tim O’Brien elected to promote rising junior and 2008 4-star recruit Mike Glennon to the starting quarterback position.

However, piqued by the possibility of playing one more season of college football, Wilson seems to have put his baseball career temporarily on hold.

Since O’Brien had already selected Glennon as the starter for next season, Wilson would not be allowed to return as the Wolfpack’s starting quarterback.  Fortunately, NC State graciously granted him a release from his scholarship.  Since he has already graduated, he may transfer to any other school and begin playing immediately.

After recently visiting Wisconsin and now Auburn, it appears that Wilson is poised for a stunning move to one of the nation’s elite programs where he will finally have a chance to win a conference and perhaps even the BCS National Championship.

If he is offered and accepts a scholarship at Auburn, Wilson would have the opportunity to team up with All-American-caliber running backs Onterio McCalebb and Michael Dyer and stud H-back Phillip Lutzenkirchen.

A far more well-developed passer with similar mobility to Newton, Wilson would ultimately help ease the expected drop-off following Auburn’s remarkable 2010 Championship run.  However, if the offensive line and defense could replicate the same late-season form which kept them in contention even when Newton was faltering, than Wilson may very well be the next single-season quarterback to hoist the BCS National Championship Trophy.

More developments and analysis to follow…