The NFL Draft is all about hyperbole, posturing and teams trying to secure the best athletes they can for their respective franchises. Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson has not been part of that hype. This year’s pre-draft media attention has mostly centered on star quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck.
The Hesiman Trophy-winning Griffin dazzled in 2011 as the man pulling the trigger of Baylor’s high-octane offense. Luck, of course, has been groomed to be the next big quarterback splash since Peyton Manning’s arrival in the NFL.
There are other college quarterbacks many NFL: scouts have pegged to be top prospects at that position. Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins, Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill and Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden are among them. Wilson, who threw for 33 touchdowns, completed 72.8 percent of his passes, and led the nation in passing efficiency (191.78) his final year as a college football player, is not getting the love he deserves.
Wilson’s pre-draft stock ranges from being the seventh to ninth best quarterback in this year’s draft. That’s because the biggest knock on Wilson is that he doesn’t have the prototypical size of an NFL quarterback. At 5-foot-11, 201 pounds, Wilson is considered too short to play the position on an elite level, according to various draft websites.
But Wilson is not a young man to let too much bother him. So having a knock against him because of height is not going to stop Wilson from living out his dream of playing in the NFL as a top quarterback.
He has NFL arm. He runs the 40 in 4.55 seconds. Wilson is a man of faith. He carries around supreme confidence about himself the way someone may walk around with a Coach or Michael Kors bag.
He didn’t quit on his NFL dream when his father passed away one day he was drafted by Major League Baseball’s Colorado Rockies in 2010. He didn’t throw in the towel after leaving North Carolina State before he transferred to Wisconsin.
Wilson is a winner-on and off the field. In a Rose Bowl Media Day interview days prior to the game, Wilson shed some light on the type of person and football player he is by talking about his father and how much his faith in God is representative of who he is as a person.
Q. Talk about your faith. You have a strong conviction. How does that enhance your performance?
RUSSELL WILSON: “In terms of my faith and how it pushes me to strive for the best, I play for an audience of one. No matter what’s going on, no matter how well I’m doing or how poorly I’m doing, I always give the glory to him and I keep pushing trying to play the best because he’s giving me the talent. I want to use all my talent to the best of my ability.
And I think also my faith also, when things aren’t going so well during a game, you know, I just trust in him to lead me in the right direction and make the right decisions. I pray throughout the game all the time, and just it’s one of those things for me.”
Q. Do you have a scripture that inspires you most?
RUSSELL WILSON: “Yeah, I mean I use multiple scriptures. I write something on my wrist before every game. You can’t really see it now because I have a little play sheet on my wrist but it’s underneath my play sheet. But I always write like a motto for the day before the game, whatever that is.”
Q. How special would it be to follow in your dad’s footsteps?
RUSSELL WILSON: “It would definitely mean a lot to me. My dad’s?? he loved playing football. He had a great opportunity to play for the San Diego Chargers and all that kind of stuff.
But I would love to play in the NFL. Obviously I want to be a starting quarterback; I want to have a long career in the NFL. I’ve just got to take one day at a time, just keep pushing and strive to be the best I can be and keep being a leader and keep studying the game of football.”
Q. Could you please elaborate on, when you were growing up, you and your brother would get up and I think play catch with your father. Is that true?
RUSSELL WILSON: “Definitely true. My dad used to wake us up 5:30, 6:00 in the morning every morning. And we’d go up to Collegiate. My high school, my brother’s high school, just right down the road, five minutes away. And my dad played receiver. He played for the San Diego Chargers for a little bit and had some pretty good talent there. And I used to always throw to my brother and he used to catch and run routes. My brother played receiver as well. They used to run routes.
That’s how I really understood the game. I knew about the speed out when I was six years old. I knew the depth and the timing of it, the footwork of it.
I knew how to take a take?two post and how to lead the guy and all this different stuff. That’s where I really learned and grew as a quarterback.
And I give the glory to God, first of all, but also without my dad and without my brother, you know, pushing me to strive to be the best, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Q. I know your father passed this year. How difficult was that for you, and how did you handle that in the midst of not only playing quarterback but also studying?
RUSSELL WILSON: “Well, you know, he passed on June 9th, 2010. And I got drafted June 8th, 2010. So it’s one of those things where he got to see my brother get married the beginning of that year. And then I got drafted the day before he passed away. I went home and saw him in Richmond and told him I got drafted. And then two hours later he passed away right in front of my mom and I.
So it’s one of those things where God?? like I said earlier, God works in mysterious ways, where my dad got to see me, I believe he got to see me get drafted and all that.
That’s a special thing. And it’s an emotional thing, but I know he’s right there with me. He used to tell me there’s a king in every crowd. And I know he’ll be my king in this crowd in terms of the Rose Bowl. He’ll be right there watching me.
And what that meant was in terms of my faith and all that, first of all, God’s always watching you. He’s always covering you. And second of all, for me, when I play sports, he’s got the best seat in the house. He’s sitting there right there on the 50?yard line watching every game, every play. He’s probably screaming for me and shouting at me at the same time. And also in terms of that, too, you never know what scout or GM, you never know?? you never know what little kid’s looking up to you, what kid wants to be like you.
And so that’s why I admire guys like Drew Brees and the way they play and the way they approach the game. So all that kind of stuff kind of correlates and is pretty special to me.”
Q. When you have down periods, either in spring or end season is there any way your father inspired you? When you have down periods, how has he inspired you?
RUSSELL WILSON: “You don’t really have too much down time when you’re the quarterback for a huge DivisionI?A team.”
Q. I’m talking when things go badly.
RUSSELL WILSON: “I never really get down to be honest with you. I’m not the guy to get down. I realize that you have to take it for what it is and you have your trials and tribulations at times.
But I’m a guy that always smiles and is trying to be positive?? as positive as I can be every day. And this experience for me has been a blessing in my life.
But in terms of when my dad?? I guess you would say if you’re asking me what he kind of would say to me, he used to always talk to about having perspective and having purpose to your life. And always persevering. So those three Ps he used to bring up to me. And I think that’s something that has played out in my life. And always have a positive perspective. You always have to have a purpose to what you’re doing. And those things always help you in terms of your persevering and getting through things.”