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Tag:Asheville Tourists
Posted on: June 30, 2011 1:28 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 1:43 pm
 

Russell Wilson still could return to baseball

Posted by Chip Patterson

Earlier this week, former N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson ended the long-awaited indecision regarding his immediate future by announcing his transfer to Wisconsin. Wilson chose the Badgers over Auburn and continuing his career with the Asheville Tourists, the Class A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.

While some assumed that this may be the end of Wilson's baseball career, his time with the Rockies. according to Wilson's agent, may not be over after all.

"The Rockies have been incredibly understanding of how torn emotionally Russell is between baseball and football. He's not being disrespectful," agent Mark Rodgers told The Denver Post. "He's a 22-year-old kid who wants to keep his options open. The Rockies haven't closed the door on him coming back. And Russell has not closed the door."

Wilson did not have a fantastic start to his first season with the Tourists, batting .228 and only driving in 15 runs. He was second on the team in stolen bases (15), but it was not the kind of season expected from a fourth-round pick. If he chooses to stick with football, and does not return to the Rockies; he will have to forfeit "slightly less than 50 percent of his $200,000 signing bonus."

As Dennis Dodd pointed out, Wilson's arrival makes the Badgers the new Big Ten favorite. Wilson walks into a situation where he will be able to take advantage of the big stage to boost his professional football chances.

If Wilson can't impress scouts while playing for a Big Ten powerhouse, then heading back to the diamond might be his best move. Wilson has totaled up 93 touchdowns (passing and rushing) in his three-year career on the gridiron, and has stated his dream to play in both the NFL and in the major leagues.

The good news for the new Badgers signal-caller is that both doors are still open.

READ MORE: Eye on College Football Roundtable: Russell Wilson's impact on Wisconsin, the Big Ten
Posted on: June 27, 2011 12:47 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 4:49 pm
 

Russell Wilson transferring to Wisconsin

Posted by Chip Patterson

After a three month "free agency" that was kicked off with the release from his scholarship with N.C. State, Russell Wilson has made a decision about his immediate future with football and baseball. On Monday, Wilson confirmed what many people had speculated: that he would use his final year of football eligibility this fall playing for Wisconsin.

Wilson chose the Badgers over Auburn and the Colorado Rockies organization, where Wilson was drafted in the fourth round last summer. He started at second base for the Class A Asheville Tourists this spring, but began to reconsider his future in football back in April. The next months were a whirlwind of reports and discussion, as Wilson visited with the coaching staffs at Auburn and Wisconsin during days off from the Tourists. With fall camp approaching in a little more than a month, and with a growingly frustrated Rockies' front office -- Wilson decided it was time to make a decision.

"I never want to be told I have the starting job, I never believe in that," Wilson explained in an appearance on ESPN's College Football Live on Monday. "I believe that, being the competitor I am, you have to compete every day. Once I found out I would get the opportunity to compete and be the best I could be every single day, I was truly excited about that.

"I think that with [Wisconsin's] coaching staff and the players they have, the tradition they have there in terms of their fans and the players that have played there before -- I am truly excited about it, I think it's a great situation for me."

Head coach Bret Bielema offered his thoughts on the arrival of Wilson in the school's official release.

“Russell will come in and compete for the starting quarterback position,” Bielema said. “This is an unusual situation, especially for a program that prides itself on developing players throughout their careers, as we do here at Wisconsin. However, this is a special situation and Russell is the type of player and person that fits very well with our team.”

For Wisconsin, Wilson's addition answers one of the biggest question marks heading into the 2011 season. When the Badgers closed spring practice, there still was not an official starting quarterback for the fall. Now Wisconsin gets the addition of a three-year starter with an all-conference resume. With Ohio State now facing a season of uncertain expectations thanks to the offseason scandal, Wilson makes the Badgers the biggest on-field story in the new Leaders Division of the Big Ten.
Posted on: June 22, 2011 11:20 am
Edited on: July 22, 2011 4:56 pm
 

Report: Russell Wilson making decision soon

Posted by Chip Patterson

More Russell Wilson news, but at least now it looks like there may be an end to the indecision. Wilson is said to be torn between deciding whether he wants to play his final season of college football at Wisconsin, Auburn, or remain as a prospect with the Colorado Rockies. Wilson's trip to Auburn was a "job interview" of sorts, while Badger insiders referred to his trip to Madison as a "grand slam." Throughout the entire process, the Rockies have expected Wilson to finish out the regular season with the Asheville Tourists - which ends Sept. 5.

But Wilson has decided to wind down the decision process and plans to make his intentions known soon, according to a Wisconsin State Journal report. The report cites a source close to the situation that believes Wilson will likely announce his intentions before July 1 - possibly even this week. That is not too far off from the previous report which had him indicating July 4 as a deadline earlier this month. Either way, the "free agency" of Russell Wilson should be coming to a close in the next couple weeks.

Making the decision sooner will benefit all parties involved, particularly if he decides to play college football in the fall. Once he has made his decision, he can begin meeting his new teammates and learning a brand new offense - hopefully in time for fall camp to open in August. Wilson has always been credited for exhibiting high football IQ, but mastering a brand new offense in a few months will be one of his greatest challenges yet. If Wilson announces his intention to stick with the Rockies, both Auburn and Wisconsin can stop looking at hypotheticals and begin focusing on their quarterback situation for the fall.

Wisconsin probably has the most to gain from Wilson's arrival, and that is my guess for where he will end up should he choose one more season on the gridiron. Wilson was intrigued by the prospect of "big-time college football," and it is arguably hard to get much bigger than the newly expanded Big Ten. Particularly after Ohio State's tumultuous offseason, that Leaders Division should look awfully winnable to head coach Bret Bielema. All he needs is an answer for the quarterback position, and Badger fans are hoping Wilson will be that answer.
Posted on: June 15, 2011 1:35 pm
 

Report: Russell Wilson undecided about future

Posted by Chip Patterson

After Russell Wilson's visit to Auburn was described as a "job interview," and his trip to Wisconsin was reported as a "grand slam," it seemed like the "95 percent" chances of Wilson playing football in the fall were becoming even more certain.

But following an unconfirmed report by Madison.com that stated the decision could come this week, ESPN.com's Joe Schad hears from his source that the decision still has yet to be made.

"There are two magnets pulling this kid in opposite directions," the source says. "It's a tough time for the kid."

Currently a second baseban for the Asheville Tourists, of the Colorado Rockies organization, Wilson has not performed exceptionally by his own standards since being drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 amateur draft. But as different college football fans debate on the final landing place of Wilson's 72 career touchdowns, Schad's report suggests that Wilson much first decide between the two sports, rather than two different schools.

With the struggles in baseball, and the chance to play big-time college football at either Auburn or Wisconsin, it seems like football is the trendy pick. But making that decision is walking away from mostly guaranteed money, having to repay his $250,000 signing bonus for starters. The Asheville Tourists begin their All-Star break Monday, perhaps the time off will help Wilson make this decision as we inch closer and closer to the beginning of the 2011 football season.
Posted on: June 1, 2011 10:33 am
Edited on: June 1, 2011 10:37 am
 

Gene Chizik seems open-minded about adding Wilson

Posted by Chip Patterson

The "free agency" of former N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson took another interesting twist last week when the he took his off-day from the Asheville Tourists to visit with the coaching staff at Auburn. Wilson is currently playing second base for the single-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, and since being released from his scholarship at N.C. State has been exploring the possible options for playing one more season of football in 2011.

First, the Colorado Rockies believe that Wilson will finish his first full season with the Tourists, which concludes after the kickoff of the football season. At the same time, reports from people close to Wilson believe that he will be playing football this fall for a BCS-conference school. There is also the question of if a team would want Wilson. Last season we saw how a one-year transfer could pay off (Cam Newton) as well as burn out (Jeremiah Masoli).

ESPN's Joe Schad reported that Wilson's visit was like a "job interview" with Auburn. Wilson supposedly wants the treatment of big-time football, and he must sell himself as a candidate to a big-time program. While speaking to the media on Tuesday at the SEC Meetings in Destin, head coach Gene Chizik suggested that he was not opposed to adding a talented player to the roster in 2011.

"When it comes to the recruiting part of it, my job as the head coach at Auburn is to make sure we're going to develop our roster the best way we see fit to help Auburn win," Chizik said when asked specifically about adding a transfer quarterback. "So as we go down the recruiting road, whoever gives us that opportunity to win at Auburn -- whether it's a junior college transfer or high school (player) or whoever we feel fits the bill to continuously improve Auburn's football team to give us a chance to compete for a championship -- then obviously that's my job and I"m for it."

NCAA rules prohibit Chizik from mentioning Wilson by name, since he has not signed with a school.  There is no denying that a dual-threat playmaker with a big arm can work in Gus Malzahn's system, I think we all know what happened last year. But Auburn does have two returning quarterbacks, Barrett Trotter and Clint Mosely, who are still engaged in ongoing competition for the starting job. Some have suggested that an experienced quarterback like Wilson could come in and pick up Auburn's offense fast enough to be ready to lead the team in the fall. If you are the defending national champions, and still don't have a starting quarterback in May: that might not be a bad option.
Posted on: May 25, 2011 3:19 pm
 

Rockies don't like Wilson's football flirtations

Posted by Tom Fornelli

We've heard plenty about former N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson and his hopes to play another season of college football in 2011, be it at Wisconsin, Auburn or any number of other schools who may be interested in a one-year rental. Of course, the side of the story that hasn't been publicized as much is that of Wilson's current employer: the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies selected Wilson in the fourth round of the 2010 MLB amateur draft, giving him a $250,000 signing bonus, and he's been playing in Colorado's minor league system this year.

Well, the Rockies aren't thrilled with the idea of Wilson leaving his minor league team, the Asheville Tourists, before the season is over to play football. Colorado's senior director of player development, Marc Gustafson, told the Citizen Times that Wilson would have to return a "significant portion" of his signing bonus if he did leave early to play another season of football. The Rockies are also concerned about how Wilson would handle the lack of playing time between this season and next, and how that could slow down his development and handicap his chances to one day play for the Rockies.

Wilson has struggled with the Tourists this season, hitting only .216 with 53 strikeouts in 116 at bats. In his 230 at bats since being drafted, Wilson has struck out 89 times. A problem the Rockies don't feel Wilson can solve by playing football this fall. Gustafson went on to tell the Citizen Times that the Rockies would be "disappointed" if Wilson decided to play football again this fall.

Which means that Wilson has a choice here that's a lot more difficult than where he wants to play in 2011. The question is should he. Trust me, if the Rockies are telling a local newspaper that they'd take back a significant amount of Wilson's signing bonus if he plays football, then they've already let him know this as well. So Wilson must be prepared to lose the money.

What I'm wondering is whether or not Wilson is having serious doubts about his future as a professional baseball player. It could be that his struggles so far in the Rockies minor league system have him wondering whether or not he'd be better off trying to make it in the NFL. Which would be a bit of a knee-jerk reaction because, struggles or no struggles, 230 at bats isn't enough to know that you're just not going to be good enough.

I can't help but think that if Wilson is serious about playing another year of football, and it looks like he is, then he's doing it with the ultimate goal of being drafted by an NFL team next spring. 

Hat tip: Dr. Saturday 

Posted on: May 24, 2011 2:00 pm
Edited on: May 24, 2011 2:04 pm
 

Report: Russell Wilson visiting Auburn today

Posted by Chip Patterson

Less than a month ago, the college football world was rocked when N.C. State announced that quarterback Russell Wilson requested, and was granted, a release from his scholarship with the Wolfpack. Head coach Tom O'Brien wished Wilson the best, but insisted that his starting quarterback for 2011 was junior Mike Glennon. Wilson has one year of football eligibility remaining, and has quietly begun looking into potential relocation destinations.

According to ESPN's Joe Schad, Wilson will be visiting Auburn today. He has an off-day from his current post as second baseman of the Asheville Tourists, part of the Colorado Rockies organization. His commitment to the Rockies and his potential football availability are both unknown at this point in the process. The Rockies believe that he will finish the season with the Tourists, which lasts until Sept. 5. Other reports have stated that there is as much as a "95 percent chance" Wilson will be playing football on-time in the fall.

If Wilson, an all-conference caliber quarterback, joins the Tigers he will step right into the same system that highlighted the skills of 2010's Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton. According to Schad's report, Wilson arrived at Auburn Monday night and will spend all day with the coaches. Offensive coordinator Gus Mahlzan would be able to plug in Wilson to his high-octane system and let the experienced signal-caller make plays down the field. Head coach Gene Chizik has made no comment on the issue.

Stay tuned to CBSSports.com for more as this develops
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com