On Tuesday evening, the Seattle Seahawks announced their third-round draft pick out of Wisconsin,QB Russell Wilson (75th overall), as the starter heading into Friday's match-up with the Kansas City Chiefs. Wilson is the second QB who trained at IMG Academy prior to this year's Combine and Draft to be named as a starter. Last week, the Miami Dolphins' top-pickRyan Tannehill (8th overall, Texas A&M) was named to the starting role prior to their game against the Carolina Panthers.
Under the guidance of its Director of Football, former Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke, IMG Academy has become increasingly prevalent in the ranks of the League's starting QBs. The two recently-named starters mean that heading into Week 3 of the NFL preseason, eight of the League's 32 current starting QBs have trained at IMG Academy to prepare for their rookie season, or to hone their skills in between seasons. The elite list includes:Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers),Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints),Josh Freeman (Tampa Bay Buccaneers),Eli Manning (New York Giants),Ryan Tannehill (Miami Dolphins), Christian Ponder (Minnesota Vikings),Alex Smith (San Francisco 49ers)andRussell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks).
IMG Academy trained QBs by the numbers:
1 - Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year (Cam Newton, 2011)
3 - Number-one overall draft selections (Alex Smith, 2005; Eli Manning, 2004; Cam Newton, 2011)
3 - Super Bowl titles (2007, 2009, 2011)
6 - First-round selections
9 - Combined AFC-NFC Pro-Bowl selections
54 - Combined passing yardage in miles (95,547 yards passing, combined)
218 - Combined victories (from 2001-11)
619 - Combined touchdown passes (from 2001-11)
In addition to earning starting nods for their teams, Ryan Tannehill and Russell Wilson have been impressive statistically. Through Week 2, Tannehill carries an 82.3 QB rating, with one touchdown pass and no interceptions. Wilson boasts a 110.5 QB rating, three touchdown passes and 279 passing yards, on top of his 92 rushing yards and rushing touchdown. Fellow IMG Academy trained rookie QBKirk Cousins (Washington Redskins, 4th-round, 102nd overall) was drafted as a backup, but he is not making things easy on starter Robert Griffin III. Cousins has put together a 96.3 QB rating behind his 60.0% completion percentage, 338 yards passing and three touchdowns.