Wolfpack’s Wilson hopes to become a two-sport star

Published 11:30 pm Thursday, September 18, 2008

By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
RALEIGH — Although he’ll be making just his third career start as North Carolina State’s quarterback when the Wolfpack welcome East Carolina to town on Saturday, red shirt freshman Russell Wilson knows what it’s like to play on the big stage.
This spring, Wilson wasn’t just battling to become the Wolfpack’s starting quarterback, he was also trying to help N.C. State’s baseball team reach the College World Series.
As a freshman infielder, Wilson played in 32 games for the Wolfpack baseball team, making 16 starts. He batted .297 with a pair of home runs, 8 RBI and had a team-high six stolen bases, as the Wolfpack advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals and came within one game of reaching the College World Series.
Wilson believes his baseball experience will help him become a better quarterback this season.
This spring, Wilson beat out incumbent Daniel Evans, junior Harrison Beck and highly-touted freshman Mike Glennon to claim North Carolina State’s starting quarterback job.
In the opener, Wilson got off to a rough start.
After completing just 1-of-5 passes for 12 yards, Wilson was knocked out of the contest with a head injury.
Late in the second quarter, Wilson dropped back for a pass and decided to tuck the ball and run. South Carolina’s Jordin Lindsey hit Wilson initially, but then the quarterback hit his head on defensive end Cliff Matthews’ right knee, knocking him unconscious.
Wilson stayed on the turf for 10 minutes and was immobilized on a stretcher. He was taken of the field on a cart with 4:09 remaining in the first half. Wilson gave a thumbs-up sign from the stretcher as he left the field and was diagnosed by team doctors with a concussion.
He was hospitalized over night for observation and was held out of the William &Mary contest, a game in which the Pack earned their only victory of the season.
Last week, Wilson returned to action against Clemson and completed 10-of-21 passes for 92 yards. He also carried 13 times for 26 yards, as the Tigers pounded the Pack 27-9.
Though he’s gotten off to a rough start in his first two outings, Wolfpack coach Tom O’Brien is pleased with the progress Wilson is making.
Wilson believes he’s headed in the right direction after leading the Pack down field on several occasions against Clemson.
Wilson said he is looking forward to this weekend’s contest against East Carolina and said he’s also anxious to make his first career start at Carter-Finley Stadium.