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July 5, 2011
By Tom Lea
When Bret Bielema addressed the media one day after it became known that Russell Wilson had chosen Wisconsin over Auburn and a professional baseball career, he made it clear that Jon Budmayr wasn't going to use the addition of another quarterback -?and a very successful one at that -?as an excuse that would deter him from approaching the 2011 season like he would had he been the starter.
So we know the redshirt sophomore is going to compete. Unfortunately for him, and like Bielema also intimated, Wilson isn't being brought in to ride the pine. The coaching staff stepped out of their comfort zone and normal recruiting practices to get Wilson on the squad with hopes of winning another Big Ten championship, if not more.
Budmayr is going to have to adhere to that. Now, just because Wilson is on campus, it doesn't mean that Budmayr won't be able to contribute in many ways. He's already proven to be a team guy with the way he's handled the entire situation. He's already proven he's capable of preparing like he'll be the starter and though he's been somewhat erratic at times -?the spring game instantly comes to mind - there is undeniably talent there that will eventually have a chance to blossom.
It might just have to be put on hold for a bit.
Look, Wilson is probably going to be the starter from day one. The fact that he's coming to campus before fall camp starts says as much. He'll be able to gel with his new teammates, he'll get a somewhat decent grasp of the offense and he'll probably earn the starting gig over Budmayr unless something pops up along the injury front.
That's exactly where Budmayr will be valuable in 2011, though. Instead of having three quarterbacks (Budmayr, Joe Brennan and Joel Stave) without much game experience, the quarterback position now has some solid depth. If for any reason injuries sprout up atop the depth chart, Budmayr will be able to jump in and keep the train rolling. That's where he becomes key. He offers a bit of depth that probably wasn't there when he was the projected starter.
He also encompasses everything about being a team player with the way he's handled the entire situation. Expect him to put up a fight this August during fall camp. Even if he comes up short, he'll still play a vital role in the success of the team.
UP NEXT: No. 10 on our list will undoubtedly be one of the team's leaders in 2010. He has an NFL body at a position that allows him to make plays on a consistent basis.