Much like the Auburn staff did with Jason Campbell, LSU coaches patiently waited for Russell to develop. Their patience paid off in 2005, as Russell wrested the starting job away from Matt Flynn. Most experts now regard Russell as the most physically gifted quarterback to wear the LSU uniform.
The talented junior has what many believe is the strongest arm in college football. He can throw the ball the length of the field and put on an impressive performance prior to the 2006 Sugar Bowl -- while seated on the turf, he threw the ball 40 yards. Under the guidance of offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, Russell developed a keen understanding of the game and clock management. He went on to compile a 25-4 record as a starter, the third-best record by a starting quarterback in school history.
Russell and his favorite target, receiver Dwayne Bowe, combined to become the most prolific pass-catch scoring tandem in school history. The duo connected on 23 touchdowns. Russell leaves LSU as the school's second-ranked passer with a 61.86 completion percentage and 52 touchdown passes. He is just the third player in school history to throw for more than 6,000 yards in his career and the first to lead the team to at least 10 victories in consecutive seasons. Russell also proved to be a heroic passer; he rallied the team to eight victories after trailing in the fourth quarter or overtime.
Russell was regarded as one of the nation's top-rated quarterbacks while playing at Williamson High School. He was a consensus top-five ranked, pro-style quarterback by every major recruiting publication and was named to the prestigious Parade All-American team. In 2002, he was rated the fourth-best quarterback prospect in the country by College Football News, named Alabama's Mr. Football and SuperPrep Dixie Offensive Player of the Year.
Russell was a member of SuperPrep's All-American team, FSN South's Countdown to Signing Day "All-South" first-team, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Super Southern 100 and the Orlando Sentinel's All-Southern teams. The all-time leading passer in Alabama prep history, Russell threw for 10,744 yards during his career, eclipsing the record set by former Alabama and current Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Brodie Croyle.
The two-time Class 5A All-State selection also rewrote the state record books with 84 touchdown passes. He connected on 219 of 372 passes (58.9 percent) for 3,332 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior, adding 400 yards and five rushing TDs in 2002. Russell passed for 1,850 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior. Russell also excelled on the school's basketball team as a small forward, averaging around 15 points, 10 rebounds and four assists per game as a junior.
Russell enrolled at Louisiana State in 2003, spending the season on the scout team. He played in 11 games and shared quarterback duties with Marcus Randall in 2004, earning five starts. He completed 73 of 144 passes (50.7 percent) for 1,053 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions. But, despite his 4.7 speed, he was sacked 13 times and lost 41 yards on 26 carries, finishing with 1,012 yards in total offense.
Russell became the full-time starter for the Tigers in 2005 and led the team to a 10-2 record in the Tigers' first 12 games. He suffered a left shoulder separation and ligament damage in his right wrist vs. Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, forcing him to miss the Peach Bowl and 2005 spring practice after undergoing wrist surgery. His '05 season totals -- 188-of-311 attempts (60.5 percent) for 2,443 yards, 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He scored twice on 61 carries, but lost 22 yards, as he was sacked 21 times and lost four fumbles.
Russell changed his jersey number in 2006 -- he wore No. 4 during his first two seasons, but went to No. 2 as a junior. The first-team All-Southeastern Conference choice led the Tigers to an 11-3 record in his final campaign. He amassed 3,271 yards in total offense, gaining 3,129 passing yards with 28 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. He completed 232-of-342 (67.8 percent) passes and rushed for 142 yards and a score on 52 carries.
In 36 games at Louisiana State, Russell started 30 games and threw for 6,625 yards, 52 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. He completed 493-of-797 passes (61.9 percent) and rushed 139 times for 79 yards (0.6 yards per carry) with four scores. On 936 total plays, Russell piled up 6,704 yards in total offense, an average of 186.22 yards per game.
Positives: Has a well-built, strong and athletic frame with good overall muscle definition, long arms, large hands, high-cut with wide shoulders and thick thighs … Has outstanding arm strength and size for his position … Shows good overall foot quickness and agility to step out of the pocket and buy time for his receivers … Has the lower body power to break tackles … Demonstrates above average body control and balance driving back from center and shows good accuracy firing the ball up the seams … Has a fluid throwing motion, much like the Colts' Peyton Manning … Made good strides in recognizing protections and is capable of calling audibles … Not the type who needs the glory and attention most quarterbacks relish … Determined field leader with ice water running through his veins … Will play through pain and does a great job of standing tall in the pocket … Has good balance in his drop-back and generally moves in control, showing a nice rhythm while planting his feet through his delivery … When he sits back and scans the field, he can pick apart the zones … Makes right decisions on long throws, thanks to his raw power, but needs to vary the speed on his short throws, as his targets sometimes have a hard time fielding the ball cleanly (puts too much zip on the throws) … His arm strength and fluid mechanics let him get the ball out quickly, once he sets his feet … Shows no wasted motion and is consistently in good position to deliver the ball on time … Has the strongest arm in football, at any level … Can throw the ball the length of the field and put on an impressive show during Sugar Bowl practices, when he sat down on the ground and effortlessly flicked the ball out more than 40 yards … Generates great velocity and ball speed firing up the seams and is an excellent prospect for a vertical passing game … Makes it easy for receivers to stay in stride when firing up the seam … Effective throwing on the move and has the ability to consistently place the ball on the receiver's outside shoulder … When working from a three-step technique, Russell shows very good timing and placement attacking the deep secondary, but must take some heat off his short throws … Steps into his throws well, but also has more than enough arm strength to throw off the wrong foot … Stands tall in the pocket and there is no panic in his game … Will take shots and throw under duress, but just needs to check off his primary target quicker rather than try to buy time with his feet moving around the pocket … Made great strides in maintaining his focus down field, even under heavy pressure … Has enough movement skills to buy time in the backfield … Earlier in his career, he would step back and fall away from his throws, but now is much more confident in his arm and ability to step up and find the throwing lanes … You don't see Russell scramble much, but when he tucks the ball and runs with it, he has the size, strength and bulk to consistently break tackles … Puts good velocity on his throws firing from the outside hashes and has a fluid release, whether throwing from the left or right side.
At maximum growth potential and any more weight will affect his quickness … His weight needs to be monitored, as he will lose some of his agility when he hits the 260-pound range … Lacks the change of direction agility to make the initial tackler miss … Has a good grasp of the passing game, but sometimes gets too confident in his arm strength and will try to force the ball into tight spots … Quiet sort who seems to shy away from the media attention … Shows good fluidity and quickness in his drive back from center, but is not a threat to run with the ball … Can buy time for his receivers when rolling out, but appears a little stiff in his hips when having to escape pocket pressure for too long … Tends to get a bit impatient in the pocket and showed too much confidence in his arm strength, firing the ball right into coverage … Will hold the ball too long waiting for his targets to get open, resulting in a sack or costly fumble … Can make all the throws, but needs to take a little of his zip off his shorter area tosses … Cool under pressure, but will get impatient at times and force the ball in tight areas … Not the type who can get into the second level with his feet, as he is a little stiff in his hips changing direction.
Daunte Culpepper, Miami Dolphins … Russell has a defensive lineman's build with quick feet for a player his size … He has one of the strongest arms in the game and showed better patience waiting for his targets to get open … He did a better job with his reads to improve his overall accuracy as a junior … He is a perfect prospect for a vertical passing attack … Unlike most big quarterbacks, he doesn't have a windmill-type release and can throw the ball almost the length of the field.
2005: Did not play vs. Miami (Fla.) in the Peach Bowl after separating his left shoulder and suffering ligament damage to his right wrist while being sacked vs. Georgia (12/3) in the SEC Championship Game.
2006: Was limited in spring drills while recovering from ligament surgery on his right wrist.
Campus: 4.72 in the 40-yard dash … 335-pound bench press … 515-pound squat … 31-inch vertical jump … 32¾-inch arm length … 9 7/8-inch hands … Right-handed.
Combine: Chose not to participate in the individual or positional drills.
Attended Williamson (Mobile, Ala.) High School, playing football for head coach Bobby Parrish … Regarded as one of the nation's top-rated quarterbacks … Consensus top-five rated, pro-style quarterback by every major recruiting publication … Was named to the prestigious Parade All-American team … In 2002, he was rated the fourth-best quarterback prospect in the country by College Football News … Named Alabama's Mr. Football and SuperPrep Dixie Offensive Player of the Year in 2002 … Member of SuperPrep's All-America team, FSN South's Countdown to Signing Day "All-South" first-team, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Super Southern 100 and the Orlando Sentinel's All-Southern team … The all-time leading passer in Alabama history, Russell threw for 10,744 yards during his career, eclipsing the state record set by former Alabama and current Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Brodie Croyle … The two-time Class 5A All-State selection set a state record with 84 touchdown passes … Connected on 219-of-372 passes (58.9 percent) for 3,332 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior, adding 400 yards and five scores rushing 2002 … Passed for 1,850 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior … Excelled on the school's basketball team as a small forward, averaging around 15 points, 10 rebounds and four assists per game as a junior.
General Studies major … Son of Zina Russell-Anderson and Bobby Lloyd … Made national news in 2006 after sharing his apartment with legendary musician Fats Domino in the days following Hurricane Katrina … Actually housed over a dozen family and friends for a week following the storm … Spent part of the 2006 offseason serving as a counselor at the Manning Passing Academy, working alongside Peyton and Eli Manning each day … Born Aug. 9, 1985 in Mobile, Ala.
Story Courtesy: cbs.sportsline.com
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