ESPN will debut SportsCenter Special:QB2QB with Russell Wilson next month featuring the Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl champion quarterback mentoring top prospects in advance of the 2018 NFL Draft. Participants will include quarterbacks Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma), Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State) and J.T. Barrett (Ohio State), and running back Saquon Barkley (Penn State), a projected top-five pick.
QB2QB will premiere with all four 30-minute episodes airing in prime time Tuesday, April 17 on ESPN. (Note: The Barkley episode will be QB2RB.)
Wilson will host one-on-one conversations with each player later this month where he will discuss his own NFL experiences from the past six seasons, including making the transition from college to the NFL, winning and losing Super Bowls, being the face of an NFL franchise, starting over with new coaches, and building relationships with teammates.
QB2QB will also explore mental conditioning with Wilson and his cognitive coach Trevor Moawad. The Founder and President of Moawad Consulting Group, Moawad works with Wilson and other elite and professional athletes in self-awareness and mental skills training.
QB2QB follows the successful eight-year run of Jon Gruden’s popular QB Camp series. From 2010-17, Gruden, now the Oakland Raiders head coach, mentored more than 50 quarterbacks, including 17 regular starters from the 2017 NFL season. Wilson was one of Gruden’s star pupils, a member of the highly decorated 2012 QB Camp class that included No. 1 pick Andrew Luck, Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles and current NFL starters Case Keenum and Kirk Cousins, among others. Now, Wilson is giving back to the players who are in the same position he was in six years ago before he was a third-round pick by the Seahawks.
“Russell is an ideal mentor for these young players entering the NFL. He overcame a fair amount of skepticism when he joined the league and worked hard to become one of the NFL’s top players,” said ESPN Monday Night Football producer Jay Rothman, who will oversee the project along with producer Josh Hoffman. “Our QB Campseries with Jon Gruden highlighted the relationship between coach and quarterback; this new iteration of the series will now explore the mentoring relationship between NFL veteran and these soon-to-be rookie players.”
Added Wilson: “Jon Gruden’s QB Camp was one of my favorite experiences of the NFL Draft process because it helped prepare me for some of the physical and mental demands of playing in the NFL. Now, I’m excited to have the opportunity to meet Baker, Saquon, Mason and J.T. to try to help them get ready for the next level as part of ESPN’s QB2QB. At the same time, I look forward to feeding off their energy and excitement as I prepare myself for the new experiences that await me this season.”
QB2QB specials will air across the ESPN networks and excerpts of the conversations will be featured on ESPN.com. Additional behind the scenes photos, video and other content will be available on Wilson’s new TraceMe mobile app. Launched in September 2017, TraceMe is aimed at “super-fans” who want to follow their favorite athletes and celebrities on various social media platforms. Wilson is a Founder and Executive Chairman of the new social media startup, along with Seattle-based Pioneer Square Labs.