This week, ESPNDallas.com spotlights five of the top quarterbacks returning to Friday night football in 2011.
School, class: Garland, Sr.
2010 Stats: 66-for-134, 779 yards, 7 TDs, 395 yards rushing with 3 TDs
Russell flew under the radar in 2010 after missing the first three games of the season due to a broken finger. He struggled to find his stride in his first few games after missing the reps of Garland’s preseason scrimmage and non-district games.
However, Russell used the offseason to prove he is much more than the player he showed during his junior season. He went to camps and was able to showcase his talent and eventually committed to Kansas over the offseason.
Russell is a dual-threat quarterback who fits the same mold as former Denton Guyer and current Oklahoma State quarterback J.W. Walsh. Garland head coach Jeff Jordan went as far as to compare Russell to a Cam Newton-like quarterback, noting how his long frame makes Russell deceptively quick.
“He’s a real long-strider,” Jordan said. “It doesn’t look like he’s running nearly as fast as he is, but no one ever catches him.”
Russell will be able to make plays with his legs for Garland, but it’s the ability to make proper reads that will be Russell’s biggest challenge in 2011. He possesses the talent to make incredible plays through the air, he just needs to learn to check down to an easier throw more often instead of trying to make the highlight-reel play by threading the needle, Jordan said.
Jordan said Russell has a much higher level of connection and trust with his receivers this season, which should help him tackle proper reads early in the season.
If Russell can add that decision-making ability early in the season against the stout defenses of Denton Guyer and Duncanville, he should excel the remainder of the season through District 10-5A play.