Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson

Stepping into the batter’s box used to be a part of Russell Wilson’s normal routine. The Colorado Rockies drafted Wilson in the fourth round of 2010 MLB Draft.

Wilson had two solid seasons in the Rockies farm system but he had an urge to play football that he couldn’t shake.

Wilson left the Rockies organization in the winter of 2011 and enrolled at Wisconsin to play football.

Wilson had a successful season for Wisconsin throwing for over 3,000 yards, 33 touchdowns and led the Badgers to the 2012 Rose Bowl.

In the 2012 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks gambled on Wilson.

Many sources didn’t like the Seahawks decision to draft Wilson and Seattle was given an ‘F’ for the selection. At the time, drafting Wilson didn’t make sense, Seattle had just spent $25 million on free agent quarterback Matt Flynn.

But when Wilson stepped on the field, it was obvious why the Seahawks gambled on Wilson. Wilson has a strong arm, functional mobility and great downfield vision.

Those skills led Wilson to a stellar rookie season- 26 passing TDs, 4 rushing TDs, 3,118 passing yards and 489 rushing yards.

Unlike many NFL players, Wilson didn’t suffer through a sophomore slump, he followed his rookie season with an equally impressive 2013 season- 26 passing TDS, 1 rushing TD, 3,357 passing yards and 539 rushing yards.

As Wilson prepares for this weekend’s super bowl, the Seahawks can rest easy, their gamble paid off.

 

Peyton Manning

For Manning, it’s been a clear cut path to NFL success. Son of NFL great Archie Manning, Peyton has football in his genes.

Manning was a coveted high school recruit who chose to play for the Tennessee Volunteers. Manning played all four years for the Vols.

During his senior season, Manning threw for 3,819 yards and 36 touchdowns. Manning was awarded the Davey O’Brien award and the Johnny Unitas Award.

Manning was picked first overall by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1998 NFL Draft.

During his 13 seasons with the Colts, Manning won four MVP Awards, appeared in two super bowls and won one.

Now, with the Denver Broncos, Manning has an opportunity to win his second Super Bowl in his third appearance.

 

Two Paths Collide

The 12-year gap between Manning and Wilson is the largest age gap between competing Super Bowl quarterbacks in the history of the game.

And while they may have taken different paths to get to this Super Bowl, they have one thing in common - work ethic.

Both quarterbacks are known for being the first ones into work and the last ones to leave.

Wilson has made an impression on the players and coaches in the Seahawks organization.

“Man, around 6:15 a.m. It's hard to beat (Wilson) here,” Seattle linebacker Malcolm Smith said. “It rubs off on guys. You don't want to be slacking when you know he's in here getting better."

“Russell is fabulous in everything we have asked him to do. He's done a great job of managing all of the situations, and he's come up big just about every time," Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said.

During his fifteen years in the NFL, Manning has been admired for his hard work.

“Peyton's attention to detail, that's probably what separates him from other guys and other people that have played this game," tight end Julius Thomas said. "Every day, I see how much he prepares, I see the little things that he does to make sure he's on top of his game.”

While Super Bowl XLVIII brings these quarterback’s paths together, this game will also send them in different directions.

For Wilson, his career is still young and with his skill set, this probably won’t be his only Super Bowl appearance. A win would put Wilson among the NFL’s elite.

Manning’s career is at its twilight. This Super Bowl is an opportunity for Manning to silence his critics and cement his place as one of the all-time best NFL quarterbacks. 

David Wilson RB Virginia Tech

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

UP:

Andrew Luck QB Stanford
Week 9 vs. USC- Passing: 29/40 (72.5%) for 330 yards, 3 TD 1 INT Rushing: 9 rushes for 36 yards, 1 TD
Season Stats- Passing: 174/242 (71.9%) for 2,218 yards, 23 TD 4 INT Rushing: 25 rushes for 119 yards, 2 TD

Despite tossing a crucial interception late against the Trojans last week, Luck played well and carried his team to a tough three overtime win. The Cardinal face Oregon State on the road this week before they host Oregon next weekend. This time of year any conference road game has upset potential, and there’s the possibility the Cardinal look ahead to next week’s game, so they must stay focused. In the end, Luck should have no worries about the Beavers’ defense and the Cardinal should remain unscathed, one win closer to the Fiesta Bowl.

Case Keenum QB Houston
Week 9 vs. Rice- 24/37 (64.9%) for 534 yards, 9 TD 1 INT
Season Stats- 218/303 (71.9%) for 3,219 yards, 32 TD 3 INT

Shasta! That’s actually the name of the Houston Cougars’ mascot, but it could become an acceptable exclamation any time Keenum tosses a touchdown. Nine scores in one game is absolutely ludicrous. As a team, the Cougars amassed nearly 700 yards of offense, with 534 coming through the air from Keenum. He also broke the NCAA record for total offense when he recorded his 139th career touchdown pass against the Owls’ 115th-ranked defense. The Cougars sit at No. 14 in this week’s BCS standings and have four games remaining on their schedule. There is a lot of football left to be played, but maybe the Cougars will have a shot at a BCS game come late November.

DOWN:

Russell Wilson QB Wisconsin
Week 9 vs. OSU- 20/32 (62.5%) for 253 yards, 3 TD
Season Stats- Passing: 129/181 (71.3%) for 2,033 yards, 19 TD 3 INT Rushing: 38 rushes for 200 yards, 3 TD Receiving: 1 reception for 25 yards, 1 TD

It’s really tough to see Wilson and the Badgers lose their second game in as many weeks on such dramatic plays. This time around it was Buckeyes’ signal-caller Braxton Miller delivering the decisive last-second touchdown to defeat the Badgers. Now with two conference losses the Badgers’ Big Ten title hopes are hanging by a thread, let alone Wilson’s Heisman chances. Nevertheless, Wilson has proved that he is more than adequate at the quarterback position and has given NFL scouts no reason to not consider him come April’s draft.

Tajh Boyd QB Clemson
Week 9 vs. Georgia Tech- 23/40 (57.5%) for 295 yards, 1 TD 2 INT
Season Stats- Passing: 195/318 (61.3%) for 2,674 yards, 25 TD 5 INT Rushing: 81 rushes for 165 yards, 4 TD

Clemson finally played like the young team they are and lost its first game of the season to Georgia Tech last weekend. A big second quarter from the Yellow Jackets was enough to take the lead for good as Boyd and the Tigers were unable to mount any sort of a comeback. No longer undefeated, the Tigers can still contend for the conference title, but all hope of a national championship has been lost. There’s simply no margin for error for teams at this stage in the season. Conference races are shaping up and this is when we learn the most about what players are made of. Unless Boyd unleashes some Keenum-like numbers the rest of the way it seems as if his short-lived run as a Heisman candidate has come to an end.

ON THE RISE:

David Wilson RB Virginia Tech
Week 9 vs. Duke- 23 rushes for 148 yards (6.4 ypc)
Season Stats- Rushing: 187 rushes for 1,185 yards (6.3 ypc), 7 TD Receiving: 16 receptions for 99 yards, 1 TD

Another ho-hum day for Wilson as he notched his sixth-straight game of more than 120 yards rushing. The month of October proved fruitful for the junior back, as Wilson racked up more than 600 yards and two scores in five games. At 8-1 the Hokies are still very much in the hunt for an ACC Championship and the BCS at-large bid that comes with winning the conference. The Hokies travel to Atlanta to take on a good Georgia Tech squad fresh off a huge upset of No. 5 Clemson. But there’s no reason to believe the Yellow Jackets will be able to contain Wilson, no other team has.
 

Trent Richardson | RB Alabama

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

UP-

Kellen Moore QB Boise State
Week 8 vs. Air Force- 23/29 (79.3%) for 281 yards, 3 TD 1 INT
Season Stats- 174/228 (76.3%) for 2010 yards, 24 TD 5 INT

Moore and the Broncos squeaked out a nine-point victory at home against a very solid Air Force team last week, and in the process, Moore moved into a tie with Colt McCoy for most career wins with 45. With the win and a little help from big teams slipping up last weekend, the Broncos find themselves ranked fourth in the most recent BCS rankings — the highest the team has ever been ranked at this point in the season. The Broncos still have five conference games to play, but if they can avoid the upset bug they are in prime position for a national title berth — something that would surely boost Moore’s chances at winning the Heisman.

Trent Richardson RB Alabama
Week 8 vs. Tennessee- Rushing: 17 rushes for 77 yards, 2 TD Receiving: 3 receptions for 33 yards
Season Stats- Rushing: 149 rushes for 989 yards (6.6 ypc), 17 TD Receiving: 18 receptions for 212 yards, 1 TD

Alabama’s defense did most of the work last week against Tennessee, so Richardson did what he needed in order for the Tide to keep on rolling. The Tide get a week off in order to prepare for the Nov. 5 showdown with LSU. Richardson will need to work hard during the bye week to be in top shape against the Tigers. The impending game will have the entire nation’s attention and a big game for Richardson could mean a big leap toward making the Heisman his own.

Andrew Luck QB Stanford
Week 8 vs. Washington- 16/21 (76.2%) for 169 yards, 2 TD
Season Stats- Passing: 145/202 (71.8%) for 1,888 yards, 20 TD 3 INT Rushing: 16 rushes for 83 yards, 1 TD

Luck? Who needs it when you can run for more than 400 yards in a game? That’s exactly what the Cardinal did last week in their 65-21 rout of Washington. Luck simply needed to run the clock out in this one so his numbers took a bit of a dip. The most important thing for Luck to do is keep winning. At this stage in the season, a loss is far more harmful to a potential Heisman candidate than a down week statistically. The Cardinal will travel to Los Angeles this week to face a USC team that has nothing to lose — this game could be a defining moment for Luck if the Trojans keep it close.

DOWN-

Russell Wilson QB Wisconsin
Week 8 vs. Michigan State- Passing: 14/21 (66.7%) for 223 yards, 2 TD 2 INT Rushing: 8 rushes for 30 yards, 1 TD
Season Stats- Passing: 109/149 (73.2%) for 1,780 yards, 16 TD 3 INT Rushing: 32 rushes for 212 yards, 3 TD Receiving: 1 reception for 25 yards, 1 TD

The result of the Spartans’ last-second touchdown last week did more than just deflate Wisconsin’s national title aspirations. Russell Wilson’s Heisman chances also faded as the Spartans were able to pull off one of the biggest and most exciting upsets of the year. Wilson had an uncharacteristic outing, throwing two picks and also giving up a safety when he was tackled in the end zone by a Spartan linebacker Denicos Allen. Much like what has happened to Robert Griffin III at Baylor, Wilson and the Badgers need some help in the form of other big teams losing in order for his Heisman chances to rise again.


ON THE RISE-

Sammy Watkins WR Clemson
Week 8 vs. North Carolina- 8 receptions for 91 yards, 1 TD
Season Stats- Receiving: 54 receptions for 819 yards, 9 TD Special Teams: 15 kickoff returns for 434 yards, 1 TD

This freshman has catapulted Clemson into the national picture and is just as good as advertised. Watkins goes big every time he’s on the field and even bigger when the game is on the line. No game on the Tigers’ remaining schedule really jumps out as a possible upset and that’s good news for Watkins’ Heisman hopes. If Watkins and the Tigers can keep up their incredible run there’s no reason they don’t deserve a shot at a national championship.