By David Fong
Regional Sports Content Director
Many football pundits have been surprised by the rapid ascension of Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to the top of the National Football League — in just his second season with the team, the former third-round draft pick has his team playing in today’s Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos.
Jake Current is not one of them.
Current — a Troy High School graduate — played alongside Wilson as an offensive lineman for the University of Wisconsin. Current remembers Wilson has a hard-working team leader who was named a team co-captain despite playing just one season for the Badgers after transferring from North Carolina State University.
“He’s a good guy,” Current said. “He’s one of those guys who what you see on TV is what he’s really like. He’s dedicated to what he does. Anything he puts his mind to, he dedicated himself to 100 percent. He’s a workhorse. He’s naturally gifted, obviously, but he’s also the kind of guy who puts in the work. He’s the kind of guy who would be the first person at practice and the last person to leave practice.”
Wilson was a three-year starter at NC State, passing for more than 3,000 yards each of his final two seasons. He transferred to Wisconsin in 2011 and impressed teammates so much with his work ethic and dedication that he was elected a team captain before the season started, despite not playing a down for the the Badgers before the 2011 season started.
“From May to June, he obviously came in and made a big impact on the team,” Current said. “Basically in two months, he impressed enough guys on the team to be voted team captain. He impressed guys in 7-on-7 drills and in the weight room. He took on a leadership role and the team followed. He commands a room really well.”
He obviously made a similar impression on his teammates when he arrived in Seattle last season as a relatively unheralded rookie. Despite being the sixth quarterback taken in the 2012 draft — behind first-round picks Andrew Luck (Colts), Robert Griffin III (Redskins), Ryan Taneyhill (Dolphins) and Brandon Weeden (Browns) — Wilson became a starter his rookie season and is the first quarterback in the 2012 draft to lead his team to a Super Bowl.
While Wilson is by far the most high-profile player to play alongside Current at Wisconsin, he’s actually one of four Badgers who will be playing in this today’s big game. He’s joined on the Seahawks by free safety Chris Margos and linebacker O’Brien Schofield, while former Badger running back Montee Ball plays for the Broncos.
With so many former teammates playing in today’s Super Bowl, Current said he doesn’t plan on picking favorites.
“I hope all of my buddies do well” today, he said.