Sometimes it is dangerous to call an active college player a lock-in for legend status, but in the case of Russell Wilson, it’s an easy call. Wilson is exactly what a college student-athlete should be: an accomplished and successful college student who’s earned a degree and a talented and successful athlete on the field as well.
Wilson is also an upbeat, positive person that uplifts everyone around him — from his fellow students in the classroom to the players on the team that he leads. In a time when it is an iffy proposition for a child to say that they would like to be just like their favorite athlete, if a young NC State fan told his parents that he or she would like to be just like Russell Wilson, they are undoubtedly pleased immeasurably.
Wilson was recently profiled in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot, and it’s a great read about what a great person Russell Wilson really is:
Wilson, Myers said, does not like to hear the word “no” or be told that he can’t do something. Coach Tom O’Brien said he’s never encountered such a positive person.
Wilson wants it all. And so far, he’s been able to get it.
“I’ve always tried to get the most out of my life and the most out of the opportunities that are going to come up for me, and I’ve done that so far,” he said.
A product of The Collegiate School in Richmond, Wilson comes by his well-roundedness naturally. His father, the late Harrison B. Wilson III, played baseball and football at Dartmouth. After nearly making the San Diego Chargers as a free agent, he earned a law degree from the University of Virginia. He died after a long illness in June, the day after his son was selected in the Major League Baseball Draft.
“It’s a blessing that he’s in a better place now,” Wilson said.
It is amazing how many schools passed on offering Wilson a scholarship: UVA went with another higher-rated QB, who subsequently washed out of then-head coach Al Groh’s program, and John Bunting of UNC passed on Wilson in favor of big-talking Mike Paulus, who also washed out of the UNC program. Ultimately, former Wolfpack head coach Chuck Amato saw Wilson’s skills and personalities, and convinced him to come to NC State. Amato once said that in Wilson he didn’t see stars — as in recruiting service stars — but instead, a star. Good call, coach, because that’s exactly what Wilson is.
Amato’s recruitment of Wilson was ultimately Tom O’Brien’s and the Wolfpack’s blessing, and Wilson has not only become an effective QB, he has also drawn comparisons to NC State alum and NFL star Philip Rivers. On the surface those comparisons might seem silly: Wilson is smaller, more mobile and doesn’t have the same sort of howitzer throwing arm as Rivers, but on the other hand, both have shown that they are great leaders, very effective passers and also winners in difficult times for their programs.
In short, it’s not at all hard to see Wilson’s name one day becoming a permanent part of Carter-Finley Stadium, aside Rivers on the Ring of Honor.
Post-Script: There have been some fantastic features on Russell over the last few years. You can click here for our Tag archive for Wilson and surf to others that would be of interest.