Mike Glennon had to stay an extra year at North Carolina State just two get in two seasons as a starter for the Wolfpack, spending his first three campaigns behind future NFL star Russell Wilson. Wilson eventually transferred to Wisconsin in 2011, Glennon got his chance under center and excelled, and in the end he wound up with something in common with his former teammate.
Wilson was drafted into the NFL in third round in 2012, going to the Seattle Seahawks with the 75th overall pick. One year later, Glennon followed almost the exact same path, going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the third round with the 73rd overall selection. Given that Wilson had a phenomenal rookie NFL season, leading Seattle to the playoffs, Glennon thinks he could get some pointers from his former teammate.
"He texted me the other day wishing me luck and I said I would like to give him a call and see how he handled things, and he'll be more than willing to do that," said Glennon of Wilson. "I'm sure I'll kind of have a list of things I want to take away from him and I'm sure he'll be a big help."
Of course, there is no guarantee that their NFL journeys will bear any similarities going forward. Wilson landed on a team that had just added a prominent free agent QB in Matt Flynn but was able to prevail in a preseason battle to win the Seahawks' starting job. Wilson's successor at NC State joins a Buccaneer team that has an established starter for 2013 in Josh Freeman, but one that obviously appreciates Glennon's talents. At this point, Glennon isn't setting any specific expectations.
"I want to go in and compete, whatever the situation is," he said. "But I'm going to do what's best for the team; that's up to the coaching staff to decide when we go there and just be a part of the team and contribute in any way possible. I'm going to do whatever it takes behind the scenes. Obviously, I want to go in there and compete, but ultimately that's up to the coaches to decide."
The Bucs have no explicit timetable for Glennon's development, either.
"I think that's hard with any rookie quarterback," said Head Coach Greg Schiano. "It's going to be a matter of how fast he grasps our system and all those things. And the fact of the matter is, we have a starting quarterback."
Glennon is the first quarterback the Bucs have drafted in any round since they made Josh Freeman their franchise-passer-to-be in the first round in 2009. Freeman has started all but eight games for Tampa Bay in the four years since and is the team's unquestioned starter heading into 2013 after a very promising 2012. Still, with only Freeman, Dan Orlovsky and 2012 undrafted rookie Adam Weber on the roster, the Bucs wanted to add depth, competition and contingency plans to that position, just like any other. And, in a strange year in which few outside analysts could get a reliable grasp on how the QB prospects were viewed by team scouts and where each one would be drafted, the Bucs had a very high grade on Glennon.
"This one worked on both [levels] for us," said Buccaneers General Manager Dominik. "We had him as the highest-ranked player on our board and it filled a need for our football team that we thought was important. We talked it about in regard to everything we do – we want to increase the competition for everybody and bring out the best in everybody. It's a position on our team where we felt like it was a fit for the third round and the value of the player. He's a good fit for what we do offensively, and that's why we took him. This is a quarterback-driven league. Any time you have a chance to add a guy into your organization that you feel like you can develop, that also has the talent that fits your system and fits what you believe in in terms of character, [you do it]."
Added Schiano: "Competition and quality depth across our roster is critical for us to be a championship team. I think that applies to every position. I'm looking forward to it; I think that's going to make us a better football team.
"He fits the things we're trying to do – run the football, play-action pass, throw the ball down the field like we did this past season. You always want to be able to do that. God forbid something were to happen to Josh, you want to be able to continue with your offensive philosophy if you can. You can't always do that."
The 6-6, 220-pound Glennon started all 26 games for the Wolfpack over the last two seasons, throwing for 7,075 yards and 62 touchdowns against just 29 interceptions. His 7,411 career passing yards rank third in school history and he completed more than 60% of his passes during his collegiate tenure. Considered a highly-intelligent athlete, Glennon earned two degrees while at NC State and carried a 3.8 GPA in his Master's program.
In his first year as a starter in 2011, Glennon burst onto the scene with 3,054 passing yards, a 62.5% completion percentage and a 31-12 TD-INT ratio. Last fall, he eclipsed 4,000 yards and threw another 31 touchdown passes, setting a career-high with 12.2 yards per completion. His total yards ranked as the sixth-best season in ACC history.
The Virginia player of the year as prep senior, Glennon was actually recruited by Schiano, then the Rutgers Head Coach, before he followed through on his desire to play in the ACC. This time around, Schiano got his man and he believes the Buccaneers are a better team for it.