Back in 2015, Anthony Russo was a QB for Archbishop Wood in Warminster, Pennsylvania. He had competed at the Nike Elite 11 Showcase in Oregon, going toe-to-toe with 10 of the top QBs in the country. At the time he was a lesser known commodity, sort of rising up out of no where, winning at the regional level and then earning his invitation to this elite event. He more than held his own at the event, earning projections as a future NFL QB. So it comes as no surprise that Les Miles and his offensive coordinator Cam Cameron made a trip to Warminster to meet the Russo’s and get the quarterback to come visit LSU. Anthony had other plans, and committed to Temple instead (source). The 25th overall pocket passer in the country was a Temple Owl.
Fast forward into 2019 and the QB now has his 3rd different coaching staff and QB coach. He has been through a lot. The expectation was that Russo could come in and compete from Day 1 in 2016. Turns out, that was not the case. He didn’t take over until last year, when Frank “Juice” Nutile ran out of juice. He filled in admirably, passing for 2500 yards and 14 touchdowns. However, he only had 7.4 yards per attempt, middle of the pack in the AAC, and 14 interceptions, which would place him near the bottom of the conference and somewhere in the bottom 3rd nationally. He has things to fix. Not unexpected for his time as a starter.
Perhaps, that is why both Athlon and Underdog Dynasty have him ranked as the 7th best QB in the AAC. Meanwhile, 2500 years and 14 touchdowns in essentially 8 games is eyebrow raising. So coincidentally that may be why there is some below-the-radar NFL draft buzz, and you can read more about that and a scouting report by John Vogel on fullpresscovereage.com or -> Here.
Whatever the case may be, the Temple QB enters the season as seasoned vet. Another coaching change, a new playbook, and renewed expectations. He is no longer the Elite 11 QB. He is now the borderline NFL prospect, 7th best QB in the AAC, who has to go out there and show that despite the obstacles and turmoil, he has what it takes to succeed.
And I think he can.