The news of N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson parting ways with the Wolfpack (and a little help from my esteemed colleague Heather Dinich) got me thinking: Could Auburn make a run at Wilson to play this fall?
There's been no word from either camp, but it's not out of the question to think that both parties would be interested in at least speaking. It certainly helps that N.C. State granted Wilson a release to play football in 2011 if wants to -- as long as it is outside of the ACC.
Of course, if Auburn was willing to take a chance on Wilson, the team would have to accept the fact that he is also pursuing a career in Major League Baseball. He's playing minor league baseball for the Colorado Rockies Class A affiliate Asheville (N.C.) Tourists and didn't participate in spring practice. The Rockies drafted Wilson in the fourth round of last summer's MLB draft.
But if he's a fast learner, why not take a chance on him?
Think about it: What made Auburn's offense so successful last season? Yeah, you guessed it. It was Cam Newton. That big, strong, powerful runner and passer was the engine of that team. I'm not saying that Wilson is Newton 2.0, but he's a solid passer and is very athletic.
Last season, Wilson led the ACC in total offense with 3,998 yards (3,563 passing and 435 rushing). He also led the league with 37 total touchdowns, including 28 through the air.
Wilson might not be the pounding runner that Newton was, but we know he's a passer. He had nearly 1,000 yards on Newton last season and had more than 200 more pass attempts than Newton.
Of course, he's not as big or as strong as Newton. Wilson stands 5 feet 11 inches and weighs 201 pounds. Newton was an intimidating 6-foot-5, 248 pounds, which is something Wilson won't be able to replicate.
What he'd be pretty close to recreating is the way the offense ran. Wilson won't be running over defenders with ease, like Newton, but he can get by them and he'll be able to spread defenses out and force them to respect both his arm and his legs. While N.C. State's offense wasn't exactly like Malzahn's, it wasn't that far off.
What he would also do is bring some much-needed experience to the quarterback position at Auburn. The Tigers left the spring with sophomore Barrett Trotter and freshman Clint Moseley nearly even in the quarterback race. Trotter holds the only experience, completing 6-of-9 passes for 64 yards last season.
Both struggled during the spring, but seemed to make strides toward the latter parts of practice and the spring game. However, neither has the game experience Wilson does. The three-year starter is battle-tested and ranks second all-time in the ACC with 93 total touchdowns.
Bringing Wilson in would not only help Trotter and Moseley, but it would undoubtedly help incoming freshman quarterback Kiehl Frazier, who enrolls this summer. Both have a similar skill set and if Wilson were to win the starting job Frazier would benefit from learning and watching Wilson in Auburn's offense for a year. It would give all of Auburn's current quarterbacks more time to mature and learn before going out into the league themselves.
And think about what Wilson could do with SEC talent. I don't see a lot of Trovon Reeds or Michael Dyers roaming around N.C. State's offense.
I'm not saying this will happen and I'm not saying either side is even interested in meeting each other. What I am saying is that it's worth a shot, even if it is just for one season.
Auburn took a chance on bringing Newton in, so, why not Wilson?