Addition of Wilson a bold, rare move for Badgers

Bret Bielema was one of the first to acknowledge it.

"This is an unusual situation," he said. "Especially for a program that prides itself on developing players throughout their careers, as we do here at Wisconsin."

Indeed, the addition of Russell Wilson to the Badgers is a bold power move that is rarely seen at Wisconsin. And it is refreshing to see Bielema admit how unusual it is in his first comment on matter.

There is little doubt the UW head coach has great pride in developing players the way he and his coaching staff have since he took over the program in 2006. But understand this: Bielema doesn't want Wisconsin to simply be a Triple-A farm team that develops players before sending them off to the NFL. He's trying to build a program and make it attractive to blue-chip players so the Badgers can reach new heights and win a national title.

The addition of Russell Wilson is the first official sign that Wisconsin is taking a big jump forward in college football. The recent verbal commitments from some talented four-star recruits hinted at the change, but none of those commitments mean anything until they sign the dotted line next February.

Still, it's obvious that the Badgers have gained the attention of some big name players across the country, and while Bielema likes to develop lesser known players, he's not going to turn away talent if it comes knocking.

Wilson is the first example of that and while it may be a risky move, it's a risk well worth taking.

Why is it risky?

It's risky because in seeking out Wilson's services at quarterback, Bielema is essentially admitting that the quarterbacks already in his locker room aren't good enough to win now. He may not have said those words directly, but the Badgers contacted Wilson first, meaning the coaching staff realized they had a talented team that desperately needed a quarterback.

That's not to say they should be criticized for doing so. In fact, they should be applauded. This is the Big Ten and the Badgers are in the business of winning.

But that doesn't mean the move isn't risky. How will a locker room full of players who have developed over the years at Wisconsin accept a one-year wonder who will be taking over a key leadership role on the team?

Based on what we know so far, chances are everything will go smoothly. Wilson appears to be a humble kid who is easy to get along with. We also know Nick Toon played a big role in trying to convince Wilson to come to Wisconsin, and safety Aaron Henry -- the team's defensive leader -- made it clear on Twitter Monday that he is excited about his new teammate.

But there's still the outside chance that WIlson struggles to adapt to a new offense and struggles early because he's been playing baseball since last season ended. How will the players respond then? Bielema said today that Wilson will compete for the starting job, an idea the quarterback openly embraced. But what if Budmayr's offseason work gives Wilson a run for his money? Will a quarterback competition suddenly turn into a quarterback controversy?

Let's be honest. Wilson may have to compete for the job, but it's clearly his to lose. The kid was obviously pulled in two different directions -- one by the Colorado Rockies and one by the Wisconsin Badges -- while he made his decision. How can the Badgers not anoint him the starter now?

Again, my belief is that everything will work out just fine. He comes into Wisconsin with better numbers than every Badger quarterback ever in most statistical categories. The chances a guy that good doesn't beat out a group of quarterbacks who couldn't even score a touchdown against their own team in the spring game is slim to none.

But it would also be irresponsible to say this was a no-brainer move with zero consequences. At the very least, Wilson is taking a huge risk regarding his own future and the Badgers have to take some responsibility for that risk.

Right now, this is the best case scenario for Wisconsin, but Wilson has only been a Badger for a few hours. As this thing plays out, let's not just assume that there won't be any hiccups.

Fortunately, Wilson has already acknowledged the challenges that lie ahead and seems like the right kind of guy to successfully take on those challenges.

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