A day after N.C. State announced it has released him from his scholarship, former Wolfpack quarterback Russell Wilson said he didn’t want to leave the school.
“I really want the fans, N.C. State alumni and most of all my teammates to know if I had been given an equal opportunity to compete for the starting job, I would not have asked for my release,” Wilson said Saturday in a telephone interview. “I am a competitor.”
Wilson, a three-year starter, is playing minor league baseball for the Asheville Tourists in the Colorado Rockies organization this summer. He said he wanted to come back to N.C. State this fall and attempt to lead the Wolfpack to an ACC championship.
He said he didn’t want to have the starting job handed to him on a silver platter, but wanted an equal chance to compete for it. Wilson said it didn’t appear that he would be given that chance.
Coach Tom O’Brien responded Saturday with a statement read over the phone to a reporter.
“As I conveyed yesterday, I have had several conversations with Russell,” O’Brien said. “He knew the importance of his time commitment to our football team heading into this offseason, and how things might change if he was not able to make that commitment.
“As I also communicated, I respect his competitiveness and his contributions to our program and only wish him the best.”
Wilson said he respects what O’Brien wanted to do with the football team in terms of going forward, but just wanted a chance to compete for the job.
Mike Glennon, a talented but untested junior who led the team through spring practice, will be the starter. Wilson’s goal is to play major league baseball and NFL football, and he said he needs an opportunity to play in 2011 to impress NFL scouts.
“I respect Coach O’Brien and I’ve learned a lot from him and his staff,” Wilson said, “and I’m a better football player for that. I just wanted to have an opportunity to fully compete for the job.”
He said he is concentrating now on baseball, but imagines he will be getting lots of calls from college teams interested in his services this fall for his final year of eligibility.
Wilson is a graduate student who obtained his bachelor’s degree in communications in three years and therefore can transfer to a Football Bowl Subdivision school and play immediately. The terms of his release prevent him from transferring to a school that’s in the ACC or is on N.C. State’s schedule.
After leading the Wolfpack to a 9-4 record and a win over West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl last season, Wilson ranks second in ACC history in touchdown responsibility with 93 scores. He is No. 8 in ACC history in total offense with 9,628 yards.
In the ten-minute phone call Saturday, he was candid about his emotions after the announcement. He said he is proud to be an N.C. State graduate and enjoyed going to graduate school there.
He said he is “really torn up” about leaving, and is grateful to the N.C. State fans and his teammates.
“N.C. State means the world to me,” Wilson said. “It’s heartbreaking to me that I had to go.”