Posted by Adam Jacobi
Russell Wilson's ascension to the top of Wisconsin's depth chart is officially complete. The senior quarterback, a ballyhooed transfer from North Carolina State, was officially named Wisconsin's starting quarterback in the depth chart sent out by the football program on Monday evening.
Wilson's designation comes a day after another commendation from the program, when Wilson was named one of four co-captains by his teammates. As noted by Wisconsin RapidReporter Tamira Madsen, the other co-captains are FS Aaron Henry, DL Patrick Butrym and Bradie Ewing. All four captains are seniors.
It's remarkable what a godsend Wilson has been for the program already. Wilson probably isn't going to approach his highest levels of production from his time at NC State -- the 379 straight pass attempts without an interception probably aren't going to happen again, nor is Wilson likely to throw for the 260 yards per game he averaged over the last two years for the Wolfpack. Wisconsin didn't need that heavy production from Scott Tolzein last season, and it probably won't ask the same of Wilson either -- especially since it's Wilson's first and only season with the program.
No, Wilson's real value for the Badgers comes from the simple fact that he's a healthy, experienced quarterback. Wisconsin's quarterback depth took a big hit this offseason when talented backup Curt Phillips suffered a setback in his ACL tear recovery; he's out for the second straight season. Jon Budmayr, who was projected to start before Wilson showed up and is currently second on Wisconsin's depth chart at QB, is experiencing such extensive nerve problems in his right arm that he's experiencing numbness and may require season-ending surgery. Past those two, Wisconsin has senior mop-up man Nate Tice (yes, son of Mike Tice) and a handful of freshmen. Without Wilson, the Badgers' quarterback situation would be in dire straits.
The news about the captaincy, then, is even better for the Badgers. It's one thing to depend on Wilson as a starting quarterback out of sheer necessity, as is pretty much the case for Wisconsin. It's another that Wilson has apparently taken to his role so well that his teammates have imbued him with leadership status. Sure, you want that from a starting senior quarterback, but you also want said senior quarterback to have spent years, not just months, developing relationships with his teammates, so for Wilson to be at this level already, either everything has to have gone well or the Badgers are insane and acting against their best interests. So it's probably much more the former and not the latter.
All of which is to say, the Russell Wilson Era has officially begun. It's only going to be a season long, but it's probably going to be one heck of a season.