Heisman Trophy Candidate 2016: Seth Russell

Seth Russell has been attending classes and playing football at Baylor University for four years now and he is still just a junior. That’s because he began his college career as a “redshirt” freshman in 2012 and did not play football. He just watched and learned.

Baylor's Seth Russell

Baylor’s Seth Russell

Born twenty-one years ago on January 27, 1994 in Dallas, Texas, this very athletic and intelligent football player spent four productive years as a starting quarterback for Garland High School. In 2011, college scouts learned his name and began showing up at games to watch him play. He didn’t disappoint them.

In fact, in his senior year Russell enjoyed a breakout season that turned heads and captured the interest of more than one university. In that year, Seth Russell completed one hundred three out of one hundred eighty-eight passes, amassed one thousand fifteen hundred two passing yards and twelve passing touchdowns, rushed for four hundred seventy-one yards and scored seven rushing touchdowns.

Those prolific offensive numbers made him a desirable target for the University of Kansas Jayhawks and for the Bears of Baylor University. Perhaps because he was a native of Texas, this strapping 6’3” two hundred twenty pound quarterback elected to accept a scholarship from Baylor University.

In 2012, his first year at school, Russell became a “redshirt” freshman and never got on the football field. He did play in 2013 and only performed sporadically as the number one backup to starting quarterback Brice Petty who is now a backup quarterback himself for the New York Jets.

Seth Russell remained a back-up to Petty last year. But his sophomore season improved as a result of Petty’s misfortune. The starter with the imposing offensive numbers suffered an injury that put him on the shelf and enabled Russell to start taking snaps.

This young performer with a powerful throwing arm and an ability to escape the pocket and rush for positive yardage showed some improvement and lots of promise. But Petty eventually got back on the field and Russell returned to the bench.

Brice Petty received his degree at the end of last year and turned professional leaving the Bears with a vacancy at quarterback, a vacancy that has been ably filled by Seth Russell.

Now a starter, this imposing young athlete has already had a “signature moment” in a recent game against Rice University. In that contest, Russell, who has a completion percentage of about sixty percent, passed for two hundred seventy-seven yards and six touchdowns before the end of the first half.

That remarkable performance is probably why pundits are looking at Seth Russell as a strong Heisman Trophy candidate. He has shown, in his still-brief time as a starting quarterback, that he has special skills as a leader and as a performer.

For those reasons, his on-field performances are being watched and evaluated. The result is that Seth Russell has a real chance to win college football’s most important individual award.

image courtesy of collegesportsblog.dallasnews.com

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