Russell Wilson’s family tree is rooted in special. His grandfather was president of Norfolk State University, and his grandmother was a college professor. His uncle went to Harvard Law School and is an accomplished Washington attorney, and his father studied law at the University of Virginia and practiced in Richmond.
Wilson attended the Collegiate School in Richmond and N.C. State and played football and baseball. Several members of his family had competed collegiately, including his father, Harrison Wilson III, who played football and baseball at Dartmouth. In fact, Harrison III attended training camp and played in the 1980 preseason with the San Diego Chargers, reportedly one of the last players cut.
On June 8, 2010, Wilson was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the fourth round of the Major League Baseball draft. On June 9, Harrison Wilson III died of complications from diabetes.
Following Wilson’s junior season, Wolfpack Coach Tom O’Brien asked Wilson to focus more on football than baseball. Wilson wasn’t ready and thought he’d have to leave football behind entirely. Because Wilson had already completed his undergraduate degree, he was able to transfer without sitting out a year. N.C. State granted Wilson his release, and needing a quarterback, Wisconsin called shortly thereafter.
Wilson learned the Badgers’ playbook in just a couple of weeks and was named captain within a month. At Wisconsin, he set the single season FBS record for passing efficiency (191.8) and led the team to a Big Ten title and the 2012 Rose Bowl.
In April 2012, the Seahawks chose Wilson in the third round, the first quarterback drafted by Coach Pete Carroll and General Manager John Schneider.Wilson tied Peyton Manning’s NFL record for touchdowns by a rookie (26) and finished the season with a passer rating of 100, fourth in the NFL. Wilson led the Seahawks to the divisional round of the NFL playoffs and was voted the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year.
Wilson finished the 2013 season with 26 touchdown passes, 9 interceptions, and a 101.2 passer rating, becoming the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to post a 100+ passer rating in each of his first 2 seasons. Wilson was named to his second Pro Bowl on December 27, 2013.
On January 19, 2014, Wilson and the Seahawks defeated the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, 23–17, sending the Seahawks to Super Bowl XLVIII. Wilson threw for 206 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions for a 123.1 passer rating in the 43-8 defeat over the Denver Broncos. He became the 2nd black starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl, joining Super Bowl XXII winner Doug Williams.