NCSU coach optimistic about quarterback's return

STAFF WRITERDecember 11, 2009 

N.C. State football coach Tom O'Brien sounds optimistic about the chances that quarterback Russell Wilson will return to N.C. State in 2010.

Wilson, who led the ACC with 31 touchdowns passes in 2009 as a sophomore, also plays baseball for N.C. State and will be eligible for the major league draft in June.

"Right now, if it was today, he'd be back," O'Brien told the crowd - which included News & Observer reporter Chip Alexander - at a fund-raising dinner for the Toys for Tots program on Thursday night.

"That's because he has been playing football and he likes what he's doing. He finished on a high note by beating North Carolina."

Although N.C. State finished 5-7 and missed out on a bowl trip, the Wolfpack's 28-27 win over North Carolina in the season finale took some of the sting out of a disappointing season for Wilson and O'Brien.

Wilson threw four touchdown passes in the game against one of the ACC's top defenses. Afterward, Wilson gave little indication of whether he was leaning toward returning to school or leaving. He said his religious faith would guide his decision.

In baseball, Wilson batted .236 last season for N.C. State with two doubles, one triple and 10 RBIs in limited action. He made 23 starts, 19 at second base, but missed the first 22 games because of a knee injury suffered in the Bowl.

"He has never had a full year of baseball," O'Brien said at the dinner. "With the injury last year he did not have a full year. I think it will take a lot for him to leave this year but there is that possibility."

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