Jack Russell was looking to wrap up his college decision. However, when former Wisconsin assistants Paul Chryst, Bob Bostad and Joe Rudolph went to Pittsburgh, that's where Russell saw he had one more option to consider.
"Coach Bostad, Coach Rudolph and Coach Chryst recruited me at Wisconsin, and even when they left, I had somewhat of a relationship," Russell said. "I was hoping I'd maybe get something, some type of interest (from Pittsburgh). Just in this last week, I received interest. They asked me to come in for a visit."
With Kevin Harper—who is on scholarship—set to graduate after the 2012 season, Chryst has the luxury of going out and spending a scholarship on a kicker. At least that's what Russell hopes for.
"From what I have heard, they're looking to put me on scholarship," Russell said. "They wouldn't be flying me out there to give me a preferred walk-on."
Even though Pitt may be a new school, and the fact that his only assimilation with the new school on his list might be those former Wisconsin assistants, Russell said he does have a couple impressions on the school.
"I kind of know they've recently been through," Russell said. "When I think of Pitt football, I think of one of the top programs in the nation. I remember them being in the Top 25, when Larry Fitzgerald was playing there. I see it as one of the top programs in the nation."
If the Panthers were to put Russell on scholarship—which they seem ready to do—it would be for good reason. Russell was the kicker for Waunakee High School, which is in the shadows on the University of Wisconsin's Madison campus. Russell only started kicking the football in 2010; during which time his team went 28-0, complete with two Division II state titles.
As a junior, Russell only handled kickoffs. This past season, he handled both kickoffs and placement kicks. He converted 69-of-70 PAT attempts, was 5-of-7 on field goal attempts and knocked 68 of 82 possible kickoffs out of the end zone. Two of those field goals were 48-yarders, including one in this year's state championship game—a state record.
Russell was also a unanimous first-team all-conference selction, all-area, all-region and all-state performer.