Anticipation is high. And the excitement is growing. The highest rated QB that MSU has signed in years (maybe ever) is finally on the Depth Chart this Spring. Russell has worked very hard in the offseason to learn the offense and get his body prepared for the potential beating it could take against SEC foes. He’s grown an inch taller from this time last year and put on about 15 lbs. of muscle. Also, being redshirted last season gave him a chance to get used to the game atmosphere and observe game situations. Chris Relf and Tyler Russell are battling it out this Spring in a healthy competition to play QB in the Fall. Relf is the better runner. Russell is the better passer. “All eyes (so far) are focused on Russell” this Spring. In the first week of Spring practice, we’ve finally been able to see Russell in action and hear him talk in interviews. Hopefully, he can stay healthy and play a huge role for the offense in the Fall. I think that if Russell plays to his potential, with the help of Coach Mullen, he can become a Heisman candidate in the future. There are not many recruits to have entered at MSU with the kind of expectations that Tyler has created. MSU fans, however, are very leery of getting too excited. Our past is full of premature excitement that has ended in disappointment. So I don’t think any of us are expecting to go to the SEC championship this season or see Tyler Russell as the MVP of the SEC this year. We just want to see another step of improvement in the offense with a pure QB that has all the tools playing in that position. Last year the offense was as exciting as it’s been in 10 years. The main thing that was lacking last season was consistency at the QB position. Hopefully, Tyler will be able to add another dimension to the offense by further stretching the defense with his arm. And with the one, two punch of Russell and Relf, defenses should have to spend a lot of extra time in preparation for what our offense will be capable of doing. I know we lost Anthony Dixon, but with the entire Offensive Line returning, I feel we shouldn’t miss too much in the running game either.
Russell on being the scout QB last season: “Basically all your doing is throwing pretty much all the same routes,” Russell said. “The more I threw, the better I became. It takes the nervousness when you know if you mess up coach isn’t really going to get you.”
Russell on expectations: “Coming out of high school I had people telling me ‘you gotta do this, we never had a great quarterback’ stuff like that but now it’s just about not worrying about what everybody else does,” Russell said.
Russell on his approach this Spring: “Just doing what I know I can do. I’m surrounded with a good team and great coaches.”
Aside from football, Tyler is one of the most mature young men I’ve been around. Regardless of the score at the end of the day, I’m sure he’ll act with class and make us proud. Whether you’re a MSU fan or just a citizen of Meridian and/or Mississippi, Tyler Russell is someone I think we’ll all be pulling for.