Deke: Seattle's Wilson enjoying one incredible ride
by Deke Bellavia,posted Jan 7 2014 10:13AM
Just three years ago, Russell Wilson was at NC State with a big decision on his hands. And now, he will lead his Seattle Seahawks into the NFC Divisional Round of the playoffs for a second straight season. “Russell was a great teammate and a great player,” said Saints Wide Receiver Nick Toon.
Toon and Wilson played one season together at the University of Wisconsin, with both players helping lead the Badgers to the Granddaddy of them all - the Rose Bowl. For those of you that do not know, I’ll kind of fill in the blanks on the interesting story of Russell Wilson. The young signal-caller that has compiled an impressive 25-9 overall record as a starter in two seasons has had a lot of big things happen in a short amount of time.
In 2010, Russell Wilson was coming off an impressive bowl outing in his then-NC State Wolfpack's 23-7 win over West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl. Wilson had carved himself an incredible start in three seasons at State as he became the first-ever freshman to be named to the first team All-ACC Offensive Unit.
But things get much more interesting. After his junior season, Wilson and NC State Coach Tom O’Brien had a little sit-down to talk about what was best for each party. Wilson was scheduled to report to spring training with Major League Baseball’s Colorado Rockies in the spring of 2011.
To make a long story short, O’Brien felt like Wilson was better served remaining on campus at that time to prepare for his last season. You see, Wilson earned his degree after his junior year and still had one year of college eligibility remaining. Both parties came to what seemed to be a peaceful resolve as NC State granted Wilson his release, meaning he was free to transfer to another school to play his final season of college football. After making history at one school, Wilson would do the same in Madison for the University of Wisconsin.
Not many players, if any, have made all-conference first team honors at two major football programs, but Wilson would go on to do just that. At Wisconsin, Wilson added a dimension to Brett Bielema’s ground-and-pound style. Wilson would quickly become a player at NC State that had trouble getting attention of NFL Scouts, to being the hottest rising star of all of college football. Wilson would throw for a school record 33 TD passes, help the Badgers win the Big Ten Title, and led his club to the Rose Bowl.
Wilson’s 33 TD passes happens to be second-most in Big Ten history, next to only Drew Brees’ 39 TDs when he played at Purdue. He was named the Big Ten QB of the year, making first team all-conference honors in the process.
Now, just three years after transferring to Wisconsin, Wilson has his Seahawks poised to make another Super Bowl run. After hearing his name called in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Wilson came out of nowhere to beat out veteran QB Matt Flynn to earn the starting job going into the 2012 NFL Season.
In his rookie season, Wilson led the Seahawks to an 11-5 record in the regular season that was good enough to land a Wild Card spot in the NFC post-season. Wilson and the Seahawks would win one playoff game over the Redskins before losing in a heartbreaker to the Falcons in the Divisional round of the playoffs a year ago.
“He is a great player. He (Wilson) can extend plays with his ability and he throws the ball very well,” said Saints sack leader #94 Cam Jordan. In his second season in the NFL, Russell Wilson has completed 257 of 407 pass attempts for 3,357 yards with 26 TDs and nine interceptions.
Wilson upped his play even more in his second season in the league as he helped guide Seattle to a 13-3 record and the top seed in the NFC. Saints Coach Sean Payton is quite impressed with what Russell Wilson has done. “You see in Russell a very competitive, driven player who's got number one, a very gifted skill set and then number two, certainly a guy that would prepare tirelessly and work tirelessly to be as good as he can.”
Coach Payton made those comments about Wilson prior to the Saints' first meeting with the Seahawks back in December. “He’s a guy that knows how to win. And I think he’s a very good leader and we can see that on tape.” Wilson was solid in the Seahawks 34-7 win over New Orleans as he completed 22 of 30 pass attempts for 310 yards with three touchdowns and quarterback rating of 139.6. Wilson also displayed some of the gifted skill set that coach Payton spoke on finishing that very same game as Seattle’s leading rusher with 47 yards on eight carries for an average of 5.9 yards per rush.
Wilson was responsible for 357 of the 429 yards of total offense Seattle gained against the Saints back on December 2nd. The Saints will look to lower those numbers Wilson piled up this weekend in the with a trip to the NFC title game on the line!