With the departure of Russell Wilson, one of the biggest questions facing the Wisconsin football team for the 2012 season was its situation under center. Consider those questions answered with Wednesday’s news that former Maryland quarterback Danny O’Brien has decided to take his talents to Madison.
“We’re excited that Danny has chosen to attend Wisconsin,” UW head coach Bret Bielema said. “From our dealings with him and all the things I have heard from those who have been around him, he is a tremendous person and has great character.”
O’Brien chose the Badgers over Penn State and Vanderbilt. He is a redshirt sophomore, meaning he has two years of eligibility remaining. O’Brien visited Madison over the weekend, an experience he described as “unbelievable” to BadgerNation.com.
“The vibe I got at Wisconsin was special,” O’Brien said in a conference call Wednesday. “It was everything I was looking for... It was the complete package: the style of offense, the coaches I connected with, the players I connected with, it’s a great area.”
O’Brien will graduate from Maryland in May, meaning that he will not have to sit out a year after transferring and will be eligible to play for the Badgers during the upcoming 2012 season
“I’m really excited to have two years [to play],” O’Brien said. “I think I’ll settle in eventually and it will feel like a new home.”
Similar to when Wilson made the decision to transfer to Wisconsin last summer, Bielema said O’Brien will not be handed the starting quarterback job and will compete with redshirt sophomore Joe Brennan, redshirt freshman Joel Stave, reshirt junior Jon Budmayr and redshirt senior Curt Phillips in camp.
“As is the case with any player who joins our program, we have not promised Danny anything other than the chance to come in during the fall and compete for the starting quarterback position,” Bielema said. “He understands that and is excited for that opportunity.”
O’Brien comes to Madison after two years under center for the Terps. In 2010 he threw for 2,438 yards and 22 touchdowns with a 56.4 percent completion percentage, which put him on the preseason watch list for the Maxwell, Davey O’Brien and Manning awards and was also named the preseason ACC Player of the Year going into.
O’Brien started the first five games of the 2011 season for Maryland, throwing for 1,648 yards and seven touchdowns before he fractured his left arm, which ended his season. O’Brien said that his arm is now 100 percent and that he’s “stronger than ever now.”
UWBadgers.com contributed to this report.