Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Pack's Wilson would be wise to turn to baseball

The Colorado Rockies made Russell Wilson a fourth-round pick Tuesday, and as hard as it might be for Wolfpack fans to accept, the wise decision for him would be to turn pro.

Right now, Wilson is saying he plans to return.

“I know football camp starts August 3,” he told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “I haven’t talked to the Rockies and I haven’t gotten into a deep conversation with coach [Tom] O’Brien about that, either. We’ll figure all that out. The Lord has worked everything out for me so far. I expect him to continue to do the same for me. … Everything is going to work out just great.”

But remember, it's common for prospect to use their options as leverage at this point. Wilson may love football, but if the Rockies offer significant dollars, all that can change.

Wilson accelerated his classwork to finish in three years, so he doesn’t have to return to school in the fall for academic reasons. Wilson always said he loved football and planned to return to State, but in talking to him, you got the sense that what was going on was much deeper than that.

First, the fact is there are few 5-foot-11 quarterbacks in the NFL. So his professional career in football was a longshot, at best.

He always seemed to be preparing himself for a shot at baseball – finishing in three years, playing last summer in Gastonia and then even trying pitching this year.

Wilson’s numbers aren’t spectacular – he hit .306 in 47 games, 25 of them starts, with two homers and nine steals. He took a shot as a pitcher and had an ERA of 5.84.
Wilson is listed as a center fielder in the baseball draft ,and that’s a telling bit of news. He played infield at State, but could easily project to outfield with his speed.

That Wilson went in the fourth round is surprising. Given his poor numbers in Gastonia, he didn’t project as a high prospect.

But the Rockies saw tools that they liked. And you can bet this – Colorado wasn’t making that pick unless it knew it had a chance to sign Wilson.

So Wilson may have fled the pocket one last time. And good for him – he’s a class act who deserves a professional chance.

As for N.C. State? Well, the Wolfpack is in good hands with Mike Glennon. But depth at quarterback, a luxury in college football, may have just vanished.

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