Attention, college coaches of America: If you're one of the dozens of coaches around the country who go to bed every night with a queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach at the thought of their young quarterbacks taking a real snap in a live game, today may be your lucky day. Because N.C. State, apparently tired of waiting on three-year starter Russell Wilson to decide whether or not he plans to return to school this fall from his second season of minor league baseball, has made the decision for him:
N.C. State has given quarterback Russell Wilson his unconditional release to play football for another program next season if he so chooses.
"Russell and I have had very open conversations about his responsibilities respective to baseball and football," coach Tom O'Brien said in a statement released by the school. "While I am certainly respectful of Russell's dedication to baseball these last several years, within those discussions I also communicated to him the importance of his time commitment to N.C. State football.
"My staff and I thank him for his contributions as a member of Wolfpack football and to this university and wish him only the best in the future."
So it has been decreed: Let the Mike Glennon era begin in Raleigh.
Wilson said he "hasn't closed the door" on playing football elsewhere this year, and his exit with a year of eligibility remaining effectively makes him a free agent: He already has a degree from N.C. State and would likely be granted a waiver to play anywhere that will accept him into graduate school, a la Jeremiah Masoli at Ole Miss last summer. Based on his resumé, he's going to have more than a few suitors, if he doesn't already. Wilson was the Wolfpack's breakout star as a redshirt freshman in 2008, picking up All-ACC honors and embarking on the longest interception-free streak — eventually stretching to 379 consecutive passes — in Division I history. He went over 3,000 yards with an ACC-high 31 touchdown passes in 2009, and led the league in both yards and touchdowns last year as a junior while also leading the team in rushing before sacks.
The broader question is whether Wilson will even bother with the hassle of transferring for one season in an unfamiliar locale, when there was a better than 50:50 chance he was going to say "Screw it" and focus on baseball, anyway. He could have been the best quarterback in the ACC this season, but his future has always been on the diamond. Maybe this is the shove he needs to get on with it already.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.