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Friday, May 6, 2011
QB Russell Wilson: Should the Pac-12 call?

By Ted Miller

It's not often that NC State has something to offer the Pac-12, but more than a few of you apparently think the Wolfpack and coach Tom O'Brien have a gift for the Conference of Quarterbacks: Russell Wilson.

Some of you say, "Who?" Others exclaim, "Go west Russell! Go west!"

Wilson, as ESPN.com's Ryan McGee points out Insider, is presently the second baseman for the Class A Asheville Tourists of the South Atlantic League. But in a previous incarnation he was a dual-threat quarterback for the Wolfpack, one who led the ACC in total offense (3,563 yards passing, 435 rushing).

NC State's Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson is free to join other football programs, but he is under contract with the Colorado Rockies.
And O'Brien has released him from his scholarship, which means he can play anywhere free-and-clear next fall (other than another ACC team or NC State nonconference foe).

Hey, California and UCLA: Is that something you might be interested in?

Sure, it might make sense for Wilson to remain in the region, which means the SEC. And South Carolina and Auburn are two schools that might be interested in Wilson. But what about a sense of adventure? Los Angeles or the Bay Area would broaden your horizons, Russell.

There is a catch: baseball. Wilson is under contract with the Colorado Rockies and, as McGee points out, they don't seem terribly flexible about allowing Wilson to skip off this summer for a preseason camp, on the East or West Coast.
[Rockies senior director of player development Marc] Gustafson said he had read the stories and the comments made by Wilson. Asked if he expected Wilson to play for the Tourists until the season ends Sept. 5, he said, "Absolutely."

Sept. 5, obviously, means that Wilson wouldn't be available for the opening of the season on Sept. 3. Would any team be willing to bring him to town, despite missing fall camp and the first game? Well, stranger things have happened but it's not a great formula for locker room chemistry.

Of course, desperate times at quarterback call for desperate measures. And there are always loopholes and politicking that could get Wilson aboard sooner. If Wilson really wants to play football, he will.

The odds, though, seem remote, particularly of him ending up in the Pac-12. But in January 2010, who would have thought that Jeremiah Masoli would end up the starting quarterback at Ole Miss and not Oregon?