"Who's he remind you of?" Jesse Palmer asked. "Cam?"
"Well then, who?"
"Easy," I said. "Russell Wilson. Except Wilson looks like Manuel should look a year from now."
In the past three years, I have seen Wilson up close more than any other top-shelf college quarterback. I've seen him five times in the past year alone: three times behind center for NC State and twice as a middle infielder for the Asheville Tourists, Class A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.
As good as he was for the Wolfpack -- in three seasons, he threw for 8,545 yards and 76 touchdowns and ran for 1,089 yards and 17 TDs -- he still flew below the radar nationally. Because of that, no one in the Midwest was entirely sure what to expect from the fifth-year senior who transferred to play for the Wisconsin Badgers.
Well, the Badger is out of the bag. Wilson ranks in second place on Ryan McCrystal's Heisman Predictor rankings this week, and -- with a national stage that Raleigh just couldn't provide -- Mr. Wilson is garnering "Is he this year's out-of-nowhere Cam Newton?" type buzz. Spending your first two games going 27-of-33 for six touchdowns and an otherworldly passing efficiency rating of 244.8 will do that for a man.
So, is college football's most recognizable transfer a legit contender to visit the Downtown Athletic Club this December? Let's take a look.
Why he'll win
To read Ryan McGee's full story on Wilson's Heisman chances, including how he compares favorably to one past winner, become an ESPN Insider today.