Wednesday, March 28, 2012
QB Danny O'Brien lands at Wisconsin
By Matt Fortuna
The Danny O'Brien saga ended Wednesday, 44 days after Maryland announced the quarterback would leave the Terrapins.
And for ACC fans, the landing spot may look a bit familiar.
O'Brien will join coach Bret Bielema at Wisconsin, marking the second straight year the Badgers notched a signal-caller from an ACC school through the graduate student exception rule. Former NC State quarterback Russell Wilson had great success in taking advantage of the rule last season, leading Wisconsin to a Big Ten title and the program's second straight appearance in the Rose Bowl.
The circumstances surrounding each transfer were different, but Wisconsin could reap more benefits in the short-term from O'Brien than it did from Wilson, as O'Brien is set to graduate this spring and will have two years of eligibility upon immediate arrival in Madison, Wis.
Yes, there are certain stereotypes that may plague a program that repeatedly uses the rule to bring in someone at the game's most important position year after year, and Wisconsin will have to overcome that through recruiting in the years to follow. But that shouldn't diminish the importance of the rule, as it is one of the few that truly rewards the student-athlete for taking care of business in the "student" part of that label.
O'Brien did just that, and it was clear that his marriage with Terps coach Randy Edsall was not going to last. So, despite earlier well-documented obstacles after the decision to transfer, O'Brien found a new home, an opportunity that was well-deserved. Now, both he and his former school can officially move on from this complicated chapter.