Oct 12, 2013; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs quarterback Tyler Russell (17) throws a pass prior to the game against the Bowling Green Falcons at Davis Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Tyler Russell could have chosen to be a distraction.
In typical Tyler Russell fashion, he chose to be the best teammate he could be despite a really tough situation.
When you rewrite your team’s record book in one season, most people would assume that their starting job would be pretty safe the following season. That must have been the thoughts swirling through Russell’s head as he entered the 2013 season. The season opener in Houston, though, forever altered the season for Russell.
Russell did not have a great game in Houston, no one will ever dispute that. To make it worse, the record setting quarterback would take a vicious hit in the second half of the game and suffer a concussion. Prescott would finish the game and start the next two. There had been rumblings among the fans after the collapse of 2012 that, despite the great numbers posted by Russell, the offense would run better with Prescott because he was a mobile quarterback that Mullen has always had such great success with. After Prescott had such a stellar game against Auburn, it was clear that those rumblings were true, and Russell had lost his starting job due to injury.
Russell still saw quite a bit of time at quarterback, but it was greatly reduced. Russell had a choice at this point of his career as a Bulldog. He could a) become bitter and be a distraction for the remainder of the year or b) be the model teammate and support the team and coaching staff regardless of how their decisions affected him. He chose the latter.
There is no doubt that he has to be somewhat disappointed how his four years at Mississippi State turned out. He was a highly recruited quarterback prospect that many fans would provide legitimacy to the quarterback position. Some thought he might be the first quarterback from Mississippi State to get drafted by an NFL team. It is still possible that he might. He has the tools needed to play the position, and it wouldn’t be the first time that a team picked up a quarterback based on limited action but had seen enough to know they liked what they saw. It just isn’t likely.
I don’t know what the future holds for Tyler Russell. I think it is safe to say that I speak for all the fans of Mississippi State when I say that we hope the best for him. He will forever have our respect and gratitude for being a great leader when he was on the field, and when he was off of it.
Story #1 Preview: The best of times and the worst of times