Continuing on in our Big Ten preseason player countdown, based on past performance and potential impact for 2011 (NFL stock not included). Safe to say this is the only guy on the list who has never played a down in the Big Ten:
No. 18: Russell Wilson, QB, Sr., 5-11, 210
2010 numbers: Completed 308 of 527 passes (58.4 percent) for 3,563 yards, with 28 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 13 starts at NC State. Also rushed for 435 yards and nine touchdowns on 143 carries.
Why he's here: Sure, Wilson has no history in the Big Ten. But he was a three-year starter and all-league performer at NC State who ranks 12th in ACC history with 8,545 passing yards and third in total offense with 9,628 yards. Debate the strength of the ACC all you want, but Wilson's 2010 numbers would have made him the top passer in the Big Ten, and his 37 touchdowns passing and throwing were more than Denard Robinson (32) and Terrelle Pryor (31). So, yeah, Wilson's transfer to Wisconsin is kind of a big deal. It remains to be seen how Wilson can fit his skills into the Badgers' offense and lead a team of players he just met five minutes ago. He also needs to cut down on his interception total. But Wilson will be surrounded by the best offensive line and running back stable he's ever played with, which makes it likely that he will have a major impact on the 2011 season.