Alabama QB prospects: JaMarcus Russell

Considered by virtually every recruiting expert to be the top quarterback prospect in Alabama this year, JaMarcus Russell is a smooth operator who has dismantled defenses and opponents ever since he burst on the scene as a freshman.

Russell now stands at a legitimate 6-5 (no hype) and weighs in at a still-growing 212 pounds, but three years back he was a lanky, tough passer who appeared to be able to make every possible throw with incredible accuracy at that young age. He finished his freshman year with 180 completions of 304 attempts for 2651 yards and 20 Tds. That is a 59 percent completion rate. Russell and Williamson High School finished as the state runner up that season to Carnell Williams and Etowah High.

Based just on physical look alone, Russell was the most impressive participant in the recent NIKE camp held at Tuscaloosa.

Russell followed that performance his sophomore year with 193 completions on 286 attempts for 2806 yards and 21 Tds to increase his completion percentage to 67. Following his sophomore season he was invited to participate in the Elite 11 quarterback camp in California where Russell competed against several senior-to-be quarterbacks, and not surprisingly the Mobile native had a very impressive showing.

His junior year was a learning experience of having to be the leader and run the offense without a receiver that had much game experience or much speed. Russell still had significant stats and continued to impress the scouts, but his scoring production was down. He completed 134 of 244 passes for 1905 yards and six Tds. That is a 55 percent completion rate, but the realities of his offensive talent meant that most of his passes were of the short variety.

Sporting a 4.60 best-clocking in the 40-yard dash, Russell was the Class 5A Runner Up for Back of the Year, and he has been the Region Co- Offensive Player of the Year each of the past two seasons.

Here is a look at his career numbers entering his senior year:

Freshman  180 304  20  2651  59%
Sophomore 193 286  21  2806  67%
Junior    134 244   6  1905  55% 

Career    507 834  47  7362  61%

Russell has received mention on the All Region and All State Teams for three consecutive years and he is on track to become the state of Alabama's most prolific passer with a consistent senior year. Current Alabama quarterback, Brodie Croyle, holds the existing record.

JaMarcus has all the tools to be a star in college and to this point he has faced and defeated higher-level competition than what Croyle faced on the high school level. The tall, skinny freshman has now grown into a statuesque physical specimen who fits the mold that most colleges seek.

Possessing prototype size for a quarterback, Russell is also impressive throwing the football.

He hails from the same high school as Tamaurice "Tee" Martin (Tennessee, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rhein Fire), but Russell appears much more polished and prepared for the college game. Russell is a self-taught quarterback who has studied NFL and college signal callers and installed their tendencies into his game.

Russell does need to improve his footwork and foot quickness, but his escapability, awareness and speed are already fine tuned.

Russell attended the recent Nike Camp (Tuscaloosa) and reports plans to attend camps at LSU, Tennessee and Georgia this summer.

The pride of Mobile has a 31-inch vertical jump, bench presses 235 pounds, and squats 475. Russell carries a 2.9 GPA and has scored 17 on the ACT.

At this point in the recruiting process, Russell can basically name his school, but the ones most frequently mentioned include LSU, Tennessee, Florida State, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Florida, Miami, Notre Dame, and Virginia.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sources out of Mobile report that Alabama has some ground to make up on several schools, notably Florida State, LSU and Tennessee. However, Coach Franchione has taken a personal interest in this recruiting battle, maintaining close contact with both Russell and his family members. Other schools are using Bama's supposed reputation as a running team against the Tide, and Russell will be watching with keen interest how Alabama's offense plays out this season.

Recruiting in the Mobile area is not an easy proposition for the Tide coaches, but this one is far from over.

BamaMag Top Stories