Who Is Russell Wilson? Career, College, NFL Draft, and Personal Life


Russell Wilson, who was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, excelled in many sports throughout high school. Although the 5’11” quarterback had a stellar undergraduate career at NC State and Wisconsin, many NFL teams viewed him as being too tiny. Wilson nevertheless developed into a top-tier professional quarterback very fast and won the Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks in just his second season.

Early Years

Russell Carrington Wilson was raised in Richmond, Virginia, after being born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on November 29, 1988. Wilson, the second of Harrison III’s three children and Tammy, a legal nurse consultant and former NFL prospect, developed his athletic prowess through competitions with Harry, his older brother.

Wilson was a standout player for Richmond’s Collegiate School’s football, basketball, and baseball squads. As a senior quarterback, he was voted conference player of the year. He finished the season by completing two touchdown passes and rushing for 223 yards and three more scores in the win in the state championship game.

College and NFL Draft

At North Carolina State University, Wilson became the first freshman quarterback to be named to the all-ACC first team, but his desire to keep playing baseball caused him to clash with coach Tom O’Brien. Wilson and O’Brien disagreed after Wilson was selected by the Colorado Rockies of Major League Baseball in the 2010 draft because of Wilson’s choice to participate in spring training with the Rockies in 2011. In order to complete his final year of college eligibility at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the quarterback made the decision to transfer.

Wilson had a stellar senior year, leading the Badgers to the Big 10 title and setting an NCAA passing efficiency record in the process. The 5’11” Wilson was viewed by many as being too short for the NFL despite his accomplishments and obvious athletic talent. After five other quarterbacks, the Seattle Seahawks selected him with the 75th overall choice in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Pro Football Stardom

Matt Flynn and Tarvaris Jackson were already seasoned quarterbacks with the Seahawks, but Wilson won the starting job by impressing head coach Pete Carroll with his maturity. Wilson ran for three touchdowns in Week 14 and threw for four more the following week as he helped Seattle finish the season on a five-game winning run. He was chosen as the NFL.com Rookie of the Year after finishing with 26 touchdown passes, tying the rookie record.

Wilson inspired the Seahawks to win 11 of their first 12 games and the NFC West title the following season. The 25-year-old quarterback became just the fourth to win a Super Bowl in his second season after throwing two touchdown passes in a blowout 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.

“Sometimes I think I’m made for these situations. I just try to do be prepared for us. When you’re prepared, you’re never scared. You just go. You trust your teammates, you trust the guys you have around you, you trust the preparation, you trust that the ball’s going to bounce your way.”

After Week 7 of the 2014 campaign, the Seahawks were just 3-3, but the ever-reliable quarterback inspired a six-game winning streak to earn a second straight NFC West title. After a shaky start against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game, Wilson helped his team come back from a 12-point hole with just over two minutes remaining and then completed the game-winning touchdown pass in overtime.

With a loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX, Wilson, the first quarterback to start two Super Bowls in his first three seasons, narrowly missed winning a second championship.

New Contracts and More Success

Before the 2015 NFL season began, Wilson, who had already established himself as one of the finest young players in the league, signed a four-year deal worth an estimated $87.6 million.

Though the Seahawks fell to the Carolina Panthers in the playoffs, he lived up to the hype, throwing for a career-high 34 touchdowns and leading the NFL with a passer rating of 110.1 in 2015. Similar results occurred the following year, when the quarterback accumulated a career-high 4,219 passing yards before the team was eliminated in the second round of the playoffs.

Seattle failed to make the playoffs at all in 2017, and the retooling squad wasn’t anticipated to fare much better in 2018. But with to Wilson’s outstanding performance, the Seahawks were able to win 10 games and make it back to the playoffs. Wilson set personal records by tossing 35 touchdown passes and having a passer rating of 110.9.

The franchise quarterback was then given a four-year, $140 million contract deal by Seattle, making him the highest-paid NFL player at the time. He had a great season the year after, finishing over 66 percent of his passes and tossing 31 touchdowns to only five interceptions, earning him his first AP All-Pro nomination.

Personal Life

Russell Wilson wed Ashton Meem, his high school love, in 2012; however, they separated in 2014. The football player subsequently started dating singer Ciara, and on July 6, 2016, they got married. On April 28, 2017, their daughter Sienna Princess Wilson was born. On July 23, 2020, a son named Win Harrison Wilson was born. Future Zahir Wilburn, a son from a prior relationship, is another child that Ciara has.

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