Thursday, December 8, 2011
Ex-Irish QB Crist could land at Wisconsin
By Adam Rittenberg
Russell Wilson's success at Wisconsin this season after transferring from NC State has caught the eye of other players looking for new destinations.
Could QB Dayne Crist go from playing at Notre Dame to leading the Wisconsin Badgers?
"Because of the success of Russell Wilson," Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said last week in Indianapolis, "I've been contacted by almost 10 players who want to talk about the opportunity to transfer in to the University of Wisconsin."
Crist started the past two season openers for Notre Dame but had his struggles and some bad luck in South Bend. He tore the ACL in his right knee during his sophomore season in 2009 and ruptured the patella tendon in his left knee in late October of last season. Crist won the starting job entering this fall but was benched at halftime of the season opener against South Florida. Tommy Rees has been the Irish starting quarterback ever since.
ESPN.com has learned Crist had Wisconsin on his radar screen soon after the benching against South Florida.
Crist came to Notre Dame as a decorated recruit set to play in Charlie Weis' pro-style offense. He had to adjust to Brian Kelly's scheme after Weis was fired.
Wisconsin makes sense for Crist, who could be a good fit in the Badgers' pro-style system.
The bigger question: Should Wisconsin add a one-year transfer quarterback for the second consecutive season?
Given the uncertainty at the QB position, the answer is yes. Wisconsin doesn't want to get in the habit of doing this every year, but there are major question marks with the Badgers signal callers after Wilson departs. Jon Budmayr, the projected starter coming out of spring practice, hasn't played all season because of nerve problems in his throwing elbow. It's a tricky injury, particularly for a quarterback. Curt Phillips, meanwhile, hasn't played since 2009 because of a series of serious knee injuries.
Reserves Joel Stave and Joe Brennan are in the mix, and highly touted recruit Bart Houston arrives next season. But none of the Badgers' quarterbacks has as much experience as Crist.
While it's unrealistic to expect another transfer quarterback to duplicate Wilson's success this season, Wisconsin can't close the door to any options. The team should have a more stable quarterback situation in 2013 than 2012, so another one-year QB might be a smart choice.