Wisconsin Athletic Communications
Bret Bielema announced the commitment of Danny O'Brien Wednesday
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema announced Wednesday that quarterback Danny O'Brien, who started 17 games at Maryland over the last two seasons, has committed to UW and will play football for the Badgers and attend graduate school at Wisconsin beginning this fall.
O'Brien earned FWAA Freshman All-America honors in 2010 after throwing for 2,438 yards and 22 touchdowns in 10 starts. He was also named ACC Rookie of the Year and finished the season ranked fourth in the league in pass efficiency. O'Brien led Maryland to a 9-4 record and a win over East Carolina in the Military Bowl.
"We're excited that Danny has chosen to attend Wisconsin," Bielema said. "The first thing we did when we were aware of Danny's interest was to try and find out what type of person he was and if he would fit into our program. 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. He had a fantastic visit and our current players who met him came away impressed. Having graduated from Maryland in just three years, you know right away that he is a smart kid.
"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. He understands that and is excited for that opportunity."
O'Brien was born in Minneapolis, Minn., but later moved to North Carolina and attended East Forsyth High School in Kernersville, N.C. He redshirted as a true freshman at Maryland in 2009 before bursting on the scene the following year. In his first career start, vs. FIU on Sept. 25, 2010 O'Brien went 18-of-27 for 250 yards with two TDs and no interceptions (efficiency rating of 168.9). That week he earned the first of his five ACC Rookie of the Week honors. O'Brien started each of the final 10 games that season and threw for a career-high 417 yards and four TDs in a regular-season finale win over NC State.
Last season, O'Brien was on the preseason watch list for the Maxwell, Davey O'Brien and Manning awards and also named the preseason ACC Player of the Year by Lindy's. He was named ACC Offensive Back of the Week after completing 31-of-44 passes for 348 yards with one TD and one interception in a 32-24 win over Miami in the season-opener then passed for 289 yards and set career highs in completions (34) and attempts (52) the following week vs. West Virginia.
O'Brien started the first five games of the season and also started against Virginia and Notre Dame but suffered a season-ending injury (fractured left arm) against ND on Nov. 12.
Evan's Take: I think this is an excellent move. Although he's not the player Russel Wilson is/was, I believe this year's move to get a transfer quarterback is more crucial. Wisconsin has nearly all of it's places to make another run at the Big Ten Championship and are the landslide favorites in the Leaders Division in my opinion. Not only that, O'Brien will have more time on campus, learning the system than Wilson did a season ago. I think it's a home run for Bret Bielema and Wisconsin. The Badgers needed a quarterback to win a third consecutive Big Ten Championship and they went out and got a good one in O'Brien.
Kyle's Take: There is no doubt O'Brien can play, but were his struggles last season linked strictly to a coaching change and change in offensive strategy? Do not expect O'Brien to become the next Russell Wilson, however, his experience will provide wonders for Wisconsin as they look to bridge the gap between younger quarterback prospects. O'Brien will be the the starter during Wisconsin's opening contest with Northern Iowa.