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Report: QB Danny O'Brien leaving Wisconsin program

(Patrick S Blood/Icon SMI) After originally leaving Maryland for Wisconsin, Danny O'Brien is set to leave the Badgers. (Patrick S Blood/Icon SMI)

By Zac Ellis

One season after leaving Maryland for Wisconsin, quarterback Danny O'Brien is also leaving the Badgers, reports FoxSportsWisconsin.com.

Todd Willert, O'Brien's high school coach at East Forsyth High in North Carolina, said that O'Brien informed him of his decision.

"I just texted him," Willert said by phone Monday morning. "He texted back. He said he wouldn't be at Wisconsin this year."

O'Brien had hoped to lead Wisconsin into the post-Russell Wilson era, but he never carved out a niche as the team's offensive leader. Like Wilson, O'Brien transferred to Madison from an ACC school using the graduate transfer exception. But after a strong showing as the starter in the 2012 season opener against Northern Iowa, O'Brien faded quickly, and he was regulated to backup duty by the third game of the year.

Joel Stave eventually claimed the starting quarterback job, and Curt Phillips took over for the last five games of Wisconsin's campaign -- including the Rose Bowl -- after Stave went down with a broken collarbone. O'Brien, meanwhile, finished the season 52-of-86 (60.5 percent) for 523 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He also fumbled the ball five times.

Willert told FoxSportsWisconsin.com that he didn't know where O'Brien will end up.The onetime ACC Rookie of the Year originally showcased his potential in College Park -- he threw for for 2,438 yards, 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 10 starts as a freshman -- but opted to transfer from the Terps in February 2012.

A tight stable of quarterbacks likely sparked O'Brien's decision. This spring, O'Brien fell behind Stave and Phillips on the Badgers' depth chart, and the competition was set to become even more crowded with the addition of juco transfer Tanner McEvoy. A touted dual-threat passer out of Arizona Western Community College, McEvoy will make his way to campus later this summer.

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