August 30, 2011

Wilson tops list of four-year transfers

Russell Wilson's change of address didn't necessarily require a change in wardrobe, but he might want to think about adding a winter coat.

Wilson's old school (North Carolina State) and new school (Wisconsin) have the same general red-and-white color scheme, but he will be leaving behind the relatively favorable climate of ACC country for the harsh winters of the Big Ten.

Consider this the new world for Wilson: Lower temperatures but higher expectations.

Wilson left a program that generally finishes in the middle of the pack in the ACC -- though the Wolfpack did go 9-4 last season -- for a team with legitimate BCS aspirations. Wisconsin reached the Rose Bowl last season and heads into Thursday's season opener with UNLV ranked 10th in the coaches' poll and 11th by The Associated Press.

What are the Badgers expecting from Wilson? Wilson, a former All-ACC selection, has been named a co-captain before ever playing a down for his new team.

Wilson has earned the most attention of the 2011 class of transfer students, but he's not the only prominent player starting over with a new school after beginning his career at another Division I program. Here's a look at 15 notable Division I transfers who should make major impacts with their new teams.

INSTANT-IMPACT FOUR-YEAR TRANSFERS
Buffalo QB Chazz Anderson
Particulars: 6-1/222, Sr.; Pickerington (Ohio)
Former school: Cincinnati
The buzz: Anderson went 74-of-126 for 729 yards with three touchdown passes and four interceptions in three seasons at Cincinnati, where he always was behind Tony Pike and/or Zach Collaros on the depth chart. He did make two starts in 2008 and directed Cincinnati to victories over Marshall and Rutgers. Since he graduated in May, Anderson was able to transfer to Buffalo without sitting out a year. He already has been named Buffalo's starting quarterback. Buffalo coach Jeff Quinn served as Cincinnati's offensive coordinator from 2007-09, so he has worked with Anderson before.
Idaho RB Ryan Bass
Particulars: 5-10/206, Jr.; Corona (Calif.) Centennial
Former school: Arizona State
The buzz: Bass signed with Arizona State as the No. 2 all-purpose back and No. 91 overall prospect in the 2008 recruiting class after rushing for 2,608 yards and 47 touchdowns as a high school senior. He rushed for 293 yards on 55 carries in two seasons at Arizona State, but was suspended for a violation of team rules midway through his sophomore year. He sat out the 2010 season as part of NCAA transfer rules. Bass will attempt to rejuvenate an Idaho rushing attack that ranked 118th nationally last season. The Vandals averaged 3.1 yards per carry and 88.2 rushing yards per game.
Particulars: Arthur Brown: 6-1/223, Jr.; Bryce Brown: 6-0/220, Soph.; Both Wichita (Kan.) East
Former schools: Arthur Brown: Miami. Bryce Brown: Tennessee.
The buzz: How much is expected of these two former five-star prospects? Bryce already has earned preseason All-Big 12 honors from the league's media, and Arthur, his older brother, earned preseason first-team all-conference honors from Rivals.com. Bryce, the nation's No. 1 overall prospect in the 2009 recruiting class, rushed for 460 yards on 101 carries as a true freshman at Tennessee before deciding to transfer. Arthur was the No. 2 outside linebacker and No. 23 overall prospect in the 2008 recruiting class, but he played sparingly in two seasons at Miami. Both sat out the 2010 season.
Particulars: 5-10/220, Sr.; Royal Palm Beach (Fla.) High
Former school: Wisconsin
The buzz: Brown started nine games and rushed for 1,152 yards during his Wisconsin career, but the two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection redshirted last season and was heading into his senior season behind James White and Montee Ball on the depth chart. As a graduate, he was able to transfer to Pitt without having to sit out a year. Although he will back up Ray Graham, Brown should get plenty of carries while adding some needed depth to the Panthers' backfield. Graham was Pittsburgh's only scholarship running back during spring practice.
Particulars: 6-0/213, Soph.; Memphis University School
Former school: West Virginia
The buzz: Brunetti played four games in a backup role as a true freshman for West Virginia last season before transferring to Ole Miss. The move allowed him to be closer to his ailing mother, who lives in Memphis and reportedly has been experiencing neck pain that resulted from a car wreck. The NCAA granted Brunetti a waiver that allowed him to play for Ole Miss immediately rather than sitting out a season. He has been named the Rebels' starting quarterback for their season opener Saturday against BYU.
Particulars: 6-4/220, Jr.; Allen (Texas) High
Former school: Texas
The buzz: Buckner, the No. 95 overall prospect in the 2008 recruiting class, played for Texas as a true freshman and made seven starts in 2009. He caught 49 passes for 529 yards and six touchdowns in two seasons with the Longhorns. Buckner announced he was transferring shortly after being arrested on misdemeanor charges of criminal trespassing and resisting arrest. Although he sat out last season as part of NCAA rules, Buckner was named Arizona's offensive scout team MVP last year. He should serve as an effective complementary receiver to All-America candidate Juron Criner.
Particulars: 6-2/309, Soph.; Brentwood (Tenn.) Brentwood Academy
Former school: Notre Dame
The buzz: Bullard, a former four-star recruit, spent two seasons at Notre Dame and played three games in a backup role in 2010. He left Notre Dame and returned to his home state to move closer to his family after the death of his father. Bullard received an NCAA hardship waiver that allows him to play for Tennessee immediately. Bullard performed well in preseason camp and has won a starting spot at left guard.
Particulars: 6-1/196, Soph.; Inglewood (Calif.) High
Former school: Notre Dame
The buzz: This former Rivals250 prospect struggled to carve out a niche at Notre Dame. Evans caught seven passes for 61 yards as a true freshman in 2009 and decided to transfer last September when he couldn't work his way up the depth chart. Evans had offseason shoulder surgery that limited him to non-contact drills for his new team in spring practice, but he has made quite an impression in preseason workouts this summer. Evans should garner plenty of playing time this fall, whether or not he's in the starting lineup.
Particulars: 6-3/241, Soph.; Columbus (Ga.) Carver
Former school: USC
The buzz: Rated as the No. 4 weakside defensive end and the No. 72 overall prospect in the 2009 recruiting class, Jones played eight games for USC in a backup role as a true freshman before a neck sprain knocked him out for the rest of the season. When team doctors didn't clear Jones for 2010 spring practice because of the neck injury, Jones opted to transfer. Jones was cleared by Georgia doctors, though he had to sit out the 2010 season because of NCAA transfer rules. He will open the season as Georgia's starting strongside outside linebacker.
Particulars: 5-11/236, Jr.; Lawndale (Calif.) Leuzinger
Former school: USC
The buzz: Although he arrived at USC as the No. 5 inside linebacker and No. 97 overall prospect in the 2008 recruiting class, Kaveinga struggled to earn playing time with the Trojans. He totaled five tackles in two seasons with USC before heading to BYU and sitting out the 2010 season as part of NCAA transfer rules. Kaveinga, an Eagle Scout, has received glowing praise from teammates and coaches since arriving at BYU. He likely will open the season as BYU's starting middle linebacker and should emerge as one of the Cougars' top defensive playmakers.
Particulars: 6-2/235, Sr.; Mobile (Ala.) Davidson
Former school: Clemson
The buzz: Maye started 33 games and recorded 231 tackles over the past three seasons, but the three-time Academic All-ACC selection decided in March to transfer over what he termed "personal issues." Because he already has earned his degree, Maye can play immediately for Mississippi State without sitting out a year. Although he won't open the season in the starting lineup, Maye should have a featured role on a Mississippi State defense that must replace all three of its starting linebackers from last year.
Particulars: 6-2/190, Jr.; Greensboro (N.C.) Grimsley
Former school: Buffalo
The buzz: Maynard completed 57.5 percent of his passes for 2,694 yards and 18 touchdowns with 15 interceptions as the starting quarterback for a Buffalo team that went 5-7 in 2009. He opted to leave Buffalo after Kansas hired away Turner Gill. His selection of California allowed him to play alongside his half-brother, Keenan Allen, a wide receiver and former five-star recruit. Maynard spent the fall semester of 2010 at Contra Costa (Calif.) College while sitting out the season. Maynard was named Cal's starting quarterback shortly after spring practice.
Particulars: 6-1/239, Jr.; Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure
Former school: Colorado
The buzz: Scott signed with Colorado as the No. 1 running back and No. 6 overall prospect in the 2008 recruiting class, but he didn't live up to that lofty ranking in his two seasons with the Buffaloes. Scott struggled with injuries and rushed for a total of 438 yards in two years while Rodney Stewart -- a two-star recruit in that 2008 class -- developed into Colorado's top running threat. After sitting out the 2010 season under NCAA transfer rules, Scott should have a feature role in USF's backfield this fall. USF ranked sixth in the Big East in rushing last year.
Particulars: 6-3/243, Soph.; Houston Eisenhower
Former school: Buffalo
The buzz: Willis made two starts for Buffalo as a true freshman in 2009 before missing the rest of the season with a ruptured pectoral muscle. He participated in spring practice with Buffalo in 2010 before transferring to Kansas. After being named the scout team's defensive player of the year last season, Willis likely will open the season in the starting lineup. He could provide a boost for a defense that ranked 98th in yards allowed per game (427.67) and 103rd in points allowed per game (34.42) last season.
Particulars: 5-11/210, Sr.; Richmond (Va.) Collegiate
Former school: North Carolina State
The buzz: Wilson is a former All-ACC quarterback who ranks third in conference history in touchdown passes (76), eighth in total offense (9,628) and 12th in passing yards (8,545). The two-sport athlete was expected to stop playing football after last season to pursue a pro baseball career, but he had second thoughts after struggling with the Asheville (N.C.) Tourists, a Colorado Rockies' Class A affiliate. By that time, though, North Carolina State coach Tom O'Brien already had announced that Mike Glennon would be his starting quarterback. Wilson got a release from North Carolina State and headed to Wisconsin. Because he already has graduated, he is eligible to play for the Badgers immediately.

Steve Megargee is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at smegargee@rivals.com, and you can click here to follow him on Twitter.

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