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January 17, 2011

Russell Wilson will play spring training baseball

The million-dollar question surrounding NC State football has been answered - somewhat. NC State announced Monday afternoon that rising fifth-year senior quarterback Russell Wilson will turn his immediate focus to baseball.

Wilson is expected to leave next month to begin spring training with the Colorado Rockies, who drafted Wilson, a second baseman on the diamond, in the fourth round of last year's Major League Baseball draft.

"At this point in my life, the best thing for me is to concentrate fully on baseball in the same way that I concentrated fully on football over the past six months," Wilson said. "It is only fair for everyone involved that I give baseball the same time and attention that I have given football. Ultimately, decisions about my athletic future will be made based on my potential to succeed at the highest professional level."

Wilson, who did not participate in spring football or off-season conditioning workouts last year to focus on baseball as well, has not ruled out the possibility of returning to NC State for his final year of eligibility in football. The school's statement said that Wilson intends to continue to pursue his graduate degree at NC State and will keep open the option of returning for football next fall.

Wilson is a three-year starter in football, and he led the Pack to a 9-4 season in 2010 that culminated in a 23-7 win over West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, Fla., Dec. 28. The Pack finished the year ranked No. 25 in both the Associated Press and Coaches' polls.

Wilson completed 308 of 527 passes for 3,563 yards and 28 touchdowns with 14 interceptions last year. He also ran 143 times for 435 yards and nine more scores.

He tied Philip Rivers for the single-season school record in touchdown responsibility with 37, and Wilson's passing yards, total yards and completions were second-highest ever for a year. Wilson set a new school record for pass attempts in a season as well. He would be named second-team All-ACC for his efforts.

Wilson hit .230 in 122 at bats in 32 games last year for the Tri-City Dust Devils of the Northwest League in short-season Class A ball. He added a pair of home runs and 11 runs batted in. Wilson scored 18 runs and had four stolen bases.


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