Best Wisconsin football players: Modern-era Mount Rushmore – From Ron Dayne to Jonathan Taylor

Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin Badgers. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin Badgers. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /
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Best Wisconsin football players
Russell Wilson, Wisconsin Badgers. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

809. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. QB. (2011). 16. Russell Wilson. player

Of all the cool stories associated with Wisconsin football over the years, the story of Russell Wilson‘s senior season in 2011 and how he even ended up in Madison has to be the best. Wisconsin has never had a quarterback like him and may never have one like him ever again. Boy, did the North Carolina State Wolfpack screw up or what?

Apparently, former NC State head coach Tom O’Brien wasn’t cool with Wilson playing some minor league ball with the Colorado Rockies organization. He told the middle infielder to essentially take a hike because he was infatuated with how tall Mike Glennon was and how long of a neck his quarterback had. Glennon was fine in Raleigh, but Wilson became a star in Madison in 2011.

Wilson transferred to Wisconsin to play for then-head coach Bret Bielema. In a matter of days, Wilson gained the trust of his new teammates enough to be named captain. The 5-foot-11 quarterback led the Badgers to another Big Ten Championship and a Rose Bowl appearance. Though they lost to Chip Kelly‘s Oregon Ducks, you cannot deny what Wilson did in one year.

He threw for 3,175 yards, 33 touchdowns and only four picks in a ground-and-pound Badgers offense. Wilson earned a spot on the All-Big Ten First Team before going pro. He’d be a third-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks in 2012. Eight years later, he’s a seven-time Pro Bowler, a Super Bowl champion and the best player in the league to never be named First-Team All-Pro.