Danny O'Brien transfers to Wisconsin

Updated: March 28, 2012, 6:50 PM ET
By Adam Rittenberg | ESPN.com

Wisconsin has added another coveted quarterback transfer, as Danny O'Brien will suit up for the Badgers.

The team on Tuesday announced the signing of O'Brien after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported his arrival. Because O'Brien graduated from Maryland in three years, he will have two seasons of eligibility at Wisconsin and can play immediately.

O'Brien visited Wisconsin during the weekend but spent Monday attending a practice at Penn State, where he had visited earlier this month. He also reportedly considered Mississippi and Vanderbilt.

"It was close, and it was a very tough decision," O'Brien said on a conference call with reporters.

O'Brien said he intends to get his hands on a Wisconsin playbook as soon as it's allowed under NCAA rules, and will move to Madison in June to start getting ready.

"We're excited that Danny has chosen to attend Wisconsin," said coach Bret Bielema in a prepared statement. "The first thing we did when we were aware of Danny's interest was to try and find out what type of person he was and if he would fit into our program. From our dealings with him and all the things I have heard from those who have been around him, he is a tremendous person and has great character.

"He had a fantastic visit and our current players who met him came away impressed. Having graduated from Maryland in just three years, you know right away that he is a smart kid.

"As is the case with any player who joins our program, we have not promised Danny anything other than the chance to come in during the fall and compete for the starting quarterback position. He understands that and is excited for that opportunity."

Wisconsin running back and Heisman finalist Montee Ball added his thoughts to O'Brien's choice on Twitter.

"Danny o brien just messaged me this.. "let's do this"... it shall be done then my man. #wiscONsin," a post on his account read.

O'Brien follows another graduate transfer quarterback, Russell Wilson, who earned first-team All-Big Ten honors in 2011 for Wisconsin after making the move from North Carolina State.

O'Brien said he didn't really rely on Wilson for advice about Wisconsin, and Wilson's runaway success with the Badgers last season wasn't the only factor that made him choose Madison.

"The fact that he kind of showed that it's possible was big," O'Brien said. "At the same time, I'm a different player."

Injuries have left Wisconsin with only two healthy quarterbacks in spring practice: Joe Brennan and Joel Stave.

O'Brien said he hopes to impress his new teammates with hard work.

"That's the best way to earn respect, just to show it by example," O'Brien said.

O'Brien earned ACC rookie of the year honors in 2010 and guided Maryland to a 9-4 record, passing for 2,438 yards and 22 touchdowns with eight interceptions. He struggled last season under new coach Randy Edsall, throwing 10 interceptions and seven touchdowns.

O'Brien lost playing time to C.J. Brown as the season went on. Then he broke his left arm against Notre Dame on Nov. 12, ending his season. He elected to transfer in February.

O'Brien said the injury to his non-throwing arm did not require surgery, and he had fully recovered as of a month ago.

While he might not have Wilson's running ability, he does have superior size; O'Brien is listed at 6 feet 3, while Wilson was under 6-0.

Now O'Brien's looking forward to life behind one of the biggest and best offensive lines in college football.

"You hear how big these guys are, but until you see them practice, it doesn't do them justice," O'Brien said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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