Posted by Chip Patterson
N.C. State head coach Tom O'Brien shocked the Wolfpack fan base by granting an unconditional release to Russell Wilson late last week. O'Brien had already made it very clear publicly that it was time for junior Mike Glennon to take over the offense, and many assumed that Wilson had played his last game in an N.C. State uniform. Wilson has spent the spring playing minor league baseball for the Asheville Tourists, in the Colorado Rockies organiziation. Over the weekend, he reached out to the media to explain his decision to leave.
"I really want the fans, N.C. State alumni and most of all my teammates to know if I had been given an equal opportunity to compete for the starting job, I would not have asked for my release," Wilson said Saturday in a telephone interview with the Charlotte Observer. "I am a competitor."
O'Brien has stated that he believes starting quarterback should be a job that lasts "365 days a year" and in his announcement of the release stated that Wilson knew his stance on the situation. Wilson, who was MVP of the Wolfpack's 23-7 Champs Sports Bowl win, has always stated that his goal is to play professional baseball and professional football. In order to make it to the NFL, Wilson believes he needs one more season on the gridiron. But O'Brien is not the type to waver in his decisions, and stood firm when Wilson asked for a shot at the quarterback job. Now the heat will be on O'Brien and Glennon, as the starting quarterback will have to deal with the fall-out from a fan base that had fallen in love with the talented quarterback. If Glennon struggles, or possibly gets injured, the fingers will be pointed at O'Brien.
For Wilson, there are plenty of examples of how transfer players have heightened their NFL draft stock in just one year of play (ahem, Cam Newton). Wilson has graduated from N.C. State already, but retains one season of NCAA football eligibility. He will now find a school with a graduate program that N.C. State does not offer, and enroll as soon as possible.