Staff photo by Chuck Liddy
Mike Glennon signed with N.C. State to play quarterback, not to watch someone else play quarterback.
After Russell Wilson's monster 2008 season, it's certainly Glennon's prerogative to transfer to another program where he has a better chance to play quarterback, given Wilson has three seasons of eligibility remaining and Glennon has four.
But N.C. State needs Glennon, that much was clear Monday in the second half of the 29-23 bowl loss to Rutgers.
After Wilson posted the Wolfpack to a 17-6 halftime advantage, he missed the second half with a knee injury. Harrison Beck's predictable struggles ensued.
In 80 pass attempts this season, Beck threw seven interceptions. In 275, Wilson threw one.
Daniel Evans did his best to save State, leading a fourth-quarter touchdown drive which put State briefly back in front 23-19, but it wasn't enough.
When Wilson's healthy, State's good enough to beat any team in the ACC, and as the first half suggested, a hot Rutgers team. When he's not, they're not and actually it's worse than that. State's just plain bad without Wilson.
To wit, with a healthy, concussion-free Wilson for the entire game, State went 5-3 (throwing out the Clemson game under the "concussion-free" clause). Without him, State went 1-3 with the win being over a I-AA team (William & Mary).
If you add up the second half of the South Carolina game (which Wilson missed with the concussion), the South Florida game (which Wilson missed with a shoulder injury) and the second half of the Rutgers game, State was outscored 95-16 without Wilson.
Which brings us back to Glennon. Tom O'Brien and Dana Bible recruited Glennon out of Chantilly, Va. to be their quarterback, maybe not the next Matt Ryan, but the type of quarterback to build a program around.
Scout.com ranked Glennon the fifth-best quarterback prospect in the Class of 2008. He chose State over Virginia and Michigan.
O'Brien and Bible did not predict Wilson's freshman success. Wilson was a gift from the previous coaching staff, and really a recruiting blunder by UNC. He redshirted in 2007 while the current State staff pursued Glennon.
Wilson beat out Glennon in August and Glennon redshirted. Wilson proceeded to become the first-team All-ACC quarterback and the conference's offensive player of the year.
Wilson is also injury prone. There's no evidence to suggest he'll make it through all 12 games in 2009 unscathed.
Evans has already graduated. Beck will be a senior but clearly is not the answer, even as a backup. Beck has already transferred once in his college career (from Nebraska) and is unlikely to leave the program with one more season of eligibility.
Ultimately, Glennon has to do what's best for him. He just watched his brother Sean get jerked around by Virginia Tech's staff for four years, yo-yoing with Tyrod Taylor and going week-to-week without knowing his status.
Common sense says O'Brien and Bible will treat the younger Glennon better. Maybe they can convince Glennon to stay based on Wilson's future as a professional baseball prospect.
Wilson, who was drafted in the 41st round out of high school, is a sophomore in terms of baseball eligibility and can enter the MLB draft after the 2010 baseball season.
That leaves three football seasons (2010, '11, '12) for Glennon to start at quarterback. If Glennon transfers, he'll only have three seasons to start anyway.
That might be enough to keep Glennon in the fold. If not, they need to get back on the recruiting trail, or figure out a way to keep Wilson healthy.