Editor's Note: This is the first installment of a series of profiles on the key contributors for LSU's 2006 campaign. Though LSU's highly publicized three-man race for quarterback is tight, with JaMarcus Russell, Matt Flynn and Ryan Perrilloux all seeming capable of the role, the early indications are that Russell will be slated into the starting spot entering the fall season.

During his two years in the tiger uniform, Russell has seen playing time in 23 contests, starting 16 times and has accumulated 3,712 passing yards and 24 touchdowns.


Coming out of high school, JaMarcus was of the biggest recruits the Tigers had ever landed at quarterback, ranked as one of the top five high school quarterbacks in his class and earning a spot among various All-American teams.


During his career at Williamson high school in Mobile, Ala., Russell set the current Alabama career passing record with 10,744 yards, passing up former Crimson Tide standout Brodie Croyle. He also set the record in passing touchdowns with 84. As a senior at Williamson in 2002, he threw for 3,332 yards and 22 touchdowns to make the 5A All-State team for the second year.


Aside from LSU, Russell was heavily recruiting by Florida State, Florida, Tennessee and Alabama, among others, with his commitment to LSU surprising many people who felt he would almost certainly be a Seminole.


After red shirting during LSU's National Championship 2003 season, Russell came onto the scene as a freshman in 2004 as the understudy of Marcus Randall, but saw a lot of playing time, often rotating series.


During the '04 season, JaMarcus saw action in 11 games, four of which he started. He compiled 1,053 yards and nine touchdowns that season, 200 yards shy of Randall's total with an equal number of touchdown passes.


He had six appearances where he threw for greater than 100 yards during his first year, including a 128 yard performance against Iowa in the Capital One Bowl. He provided the spark that LSU needed against the Hawkeyes and gave the nation a glimpse of what he was capable of doing at the college level.


Last year, Russell started in all 11 regular season games as well as the SEC championship before sitting out during the Tigers Peach Bowl victory over Miami. He totaled 2,443 passing yards for 15 touchdowns with nine interceptions, completing 188 of 311 passes to earn an overall efficiency rating of 136.56.


Seven times in 2005 he threw for better than 200 yards, including a 285 yard performance in the 34-6 win over Vanderbilt.


Russell will enter the fall at the top of the depth chart at quarterback and will be a key to the Tigers run in 2007..



Dearman's Perspective on Russell:


With all of the talk about which quarterback will get the nod to start the 2006 season, all signs point to it being JaMarcus Russell's job to lose. While Matt Flynn put up a solid performance against Miami in his absence, it is probable that he will again serve as a backup to Russell heading into the season, though he would be a more than a capable replacement if called upon.


Though there was much talk about who would get the job this season, the fact remains that Russell had a good season last year with 2,443 passing yards (at a school that runs the ball a good bit) and will enter the fall camp as the starter. With three of his top four targets from last season's receiving corps back this year in the form of Dwayne Bowe, Buster Davis and Early Doucet, there is reason to believe that he will do well as the No. 1 QB once again.

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