Quarterback Danny O’Brien has reportedly left Wisconsin. It is unclear if he will continue to pursue playing college football.
O’Brien started with a bright future at Maryland. He garnered ACC Freshman of the Year honors in 2011 under coach Ralph Friedgen.
However, Maryland fired Friedgen after the 2011 season. Randy Edsall, fresh off leading UConn to a Fiesta Bowl appearance, replaced Friedgen and brought with him high hopes to College Park.
Maryland fans expected a huge career out of O’Brien, who grew into a fan favorite by leading the Terps to a 9-4 season in 2011. He even got mentioned by noted Washington D.C.-based rapper Wale in a song released before the 2012 season began.
High expectations quickly went south during Edsall’s first season. O’Brien struggled adapting to the new system and the Terps struggled along with him, going 2-10. By season’s end, Edsall benched O’Brien in favor of C.J. Brown.
Shortly after the season, O’Brien
When O’Brien left Maryland for Wisconsin, he generated a great deal of support even from the Maryland fan base. Then-first-year coach Randy Edsall especially rubbed people the wrong way by restricting O’Brien from reuniting with former offensive coordinator James Franklin at Vanderbilt.
Ultimately, the split worked out for neither side.
Edsall turned to Brown, the lone quarterback with any experience on his roster. Brown tore his ACL during preseason practice, becoming the first of four quarterbacks to suffer season-ending injuries. Maryland finished the season with a converted linebacker playing quarterback on its way to a deceivingly impressive 4-8 season.
O’Brien, meanwhile, started well at his new stop. He earned the starting nod at Wisconsin.
However, O’Brien struggled early and Badgers coach Bret Bielema didn’t stay with him long, turning to Joel Stave after three games. When Stave got injured, Bielema bypassed O’Brien in favor of Curt Phillips.
Bielema left for Arkansas during the offseason, seemingly giving O’Brien another chance.
Gary Andersen reopened the quarterback competition during spring practice. By the end of the spring, though, Stave and Phillips had distanced themselves from the pack, including O’Brien.
Now O’Brien has left the program and faces an unclear future on the gridiron.