As if he wasn’t already.
Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema confirmed Wednesday that quarterback Jon Budmayr suffered a setback in his recovery from an issue with his right (throwing) elbow that’s plagued him since last summer camp, casting further doubt on his short- and long-term future with the Badgers. And making it more likely that, once again, UW will look outside the current roster for experienced help at the position.
The Wisconsin State Journal, not surprisingly, writes that “[t]he situation is desperate enough that the Badgers are expected to make a strong push to land” Danny O’Brien, the former freshman All-American who announced last month that he’s transferring from Maryland. O’Brien has privately expressed interest in the Badgers, but UW will not be the only program vying for the QB’s services.
Todd Willert, O’Brien’s high school coach who maintains contact with the family on an almost daily basis, told CFT during a phone conversation Wednesday that at least 15 schools have expressed an interest in his former player. O’Brien, Willert said, will “take three or four official visits” beginning in the next week or so, and hopes to have a decision on where he will play in 2012 made no later than late April.
The East Forsyth (NC) High School head coach would not divulge the names of any of the schools O’Brien is considering “out of respect to Danny and the family.” The rumor mill, however, operates under no such restrictions.
While numerous schools have been mentioned as potential landing spots, the current scuttlebutt is that there are three quasi frontrunners: Wisconsin, Penn State and Vanderbilt, with the latter widely viewed as O’Brien’s likely destination due in large part to his close relationship with Commodores head coach James Franklin.
The only certainty in where O’Brien will land, Willert said, is that they must run some type of pro-style offense. The fact that Bill O’Brien will be installing such an offense is a significant reason why the Nittany Lions are on the QB’s radar and its chances should not be underestimated.
Regardless of where O’Brien ultimately lands, his team will be getting more than the on-year rental the Badgers got out of Russell Wilson in 2011. O’Brien will graduate from Maryland in May and will have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2012.