RALEIGH — Make room for another chapter in the Legend of Russell Wilson.
Before Wilson ever played a game at N.C. State, he visited Carter-Finley Stadium with his father and older brother. He saw the names of the Wolfpack players who had their jerseys retired and made a prediction.
I remember telling them my goal was to be the next quarterback up on that wall, Wilson said Saturday before N.C. States Kay Yow Spring Game.
Wilsons No. 16 is the ninth number up there now, on the west side of the stadium, right next to Bill Yoests No. 63 and a bookend to Philip Rivers No. 17.
Not bad for a two-star recruit out of high school in Richmond, Va., who began his college career fourth on the depth chart. This achievement is just the latest for Wilson, who at 25 has already made a career of proving people wrong.
At 5-foot-10, he was supposed to be too short for the NFL, dropping to the third round of the 2012 draft. That didnt stop him from winning the starting job and leading the Seattle Seahawks into the playoffs as a rookie.
In February, he became the first ACC quarterback to win the Super Bowl. In two seasons with the Seahawks, he has won more games (24) than any other NFL quarterback in their first two seasons since 1967.
I think about how far Ive come and how many people told me no, Wilson said. I just believed in the talent that God gave me.
Wilsons number is the first to be honored at N.C. State since Rivers in 2003 and the first that will be recirculated by N.C. State as part of its new legends program.
Wilsons No. 16 can still be worn but it will include a patch with his name on it. N.C. State will do the same with the jersey of Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams.
Saturday was Wilsons day, a return to where a burgeoning legend started.
Its good to be back home, Wilson said.
Wilsons unusual career arc is familiar by now. After starting for three seasons, from 2008 to 2010 at N.C. State, he finished his college career with Wisconsin in 2011. Just a week ago he was at the Final Four sitting behind the Badgers bench.
Wilsons exit has become something of a turf war on Twitter, and briefly before the Super Bowl on billboards in north Raleigh. But Wilson embraces all parts of his college journey.
Leaving N.C. State was tough for me, Wilson said. I wanted to play all four years here and finish my career and win an ACC championship.
The plans kind of changed a little bit so I had to move on. At the same time, this school will never leave me.
Wilsons celebrity status has taken off like a rocket since the Seahawks 43-8 win over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. He has hit the talk-show circuit, even adding some basketball analysis at the Final Four for CBS, and filmed a cameo part in the upcoming Entourage movie.
He also went to spring training with the Texas Rangers and is getting ready for a second year of his youth football camps, which will bring him back to Raleigh on June 21.
It has been a great whirlwind, Wilson said.
The current Wolfpack players were appreciative of Wilsons return on Saturday.
For him to take time to come back, it really means a lot, said fifth-year senior receiver Bryan Underwood, Wilsons teammate in 2010. It shows his love for us still.