Posts Tagged ‘Russell Shepard’

Freshman of Influence – Week 9

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Posted by Mark Branstad – Football Talent Advisors

Some more freshman making an impact even as we enter the last few weeks of the season, a few of these players are probably overdue to be recognized.  Overdue players like LSU’s Russell Shepard come to mind.  I’m not sure how to categorize his position he’s sort of part quarterback / receiver / runner…well the newest incarnation of “slash”.  Here’s the list. 

First though let me say is the best site out there for updated college football player and team statistical data.  They update constantly and have game split statistical categories, a great feature which I use for the “Freshman of Influence” series. 


Freshman of Influence Week 9  


Russell Shepard, QB – LSU

This freshman quarterback’s stats aren’t eye popping, yet.  In the past two games Shepard has 11 carries for 119 yards and two touchdowns.  For the season he has 28 carries for 225 yards (8.0 avg) and two scores.  He’s definitely brought a new dimension to LSU’s offense.  Shepard has a deep background in high school track at Cypress Ridge (Texas) with bests in the 100 meters (11.1 FAT), 4×100 (42.53), 4×200 (1:29.02) and over 22-feet in the long jump…although I’ve heard he’s gone well over 23-feet. 

Janzen Jackson, DB – Tennessee

Jackson, a true freshman safety, was just named SEC Freshman of the Week for his defensive performance against South Carolina.  He had seven tackles, one forced fumble (apparently earth shattering hit) and two PBUs.  For the season Jackson has 33 tackles, tied for sixth best on the team.  Not bad considering the talent on that side of the ball for Tennessee. 

Certainly his athletic background hasn’t hurt his ability to perform well at the SEC level…he qualified for the Louisiana High School State Track Meet on multiple occasions.  He ran track for both Carencro and Barbe HS, while at Carencro specialized in the hurdles and sprints with bests of (7.70) 55 meters high hurdles and (6.68) 55 meter dash.  He qualified for the state meet in the 110 hurdles in 2007 and 2008, and ran a leg on the third place 4×100 relay (42.10) for Barbe HS in 2008.   

Ronnell Lewis, LB – Oklahoma

Lewis is a backup linebacker on a very talented Sooner defense but he’s found ways to contribute.  Through eight games he has 11 tackles, two TFLs, one sack and a forced fumble.  He’s listed at 6’02, 235 pounds but perhaps it was his speed and athleticism that attracted Sooner coaches most.  Lewis attended Dewar HS (Oklahoma) and was a three-sport athlete, played eight-man football.  Apparently was surprised by the scholarship offer from Oklahoma but I’m sure the coaching staff is glad he’s a Sooner now.  Lewis, among his many high school achievements, qualified for the Oklahoma State 2A Track Meet and ran the 200 in (22.99).  Not bad for a 220 pound plus athlete. 

Chris Borland, LB – Wisconsin

Another Wisconsin freshman ‘backer Mike Taylor appeared on an earlier Freshman of Influence blog but Borland is deserving.  First, Borland is a true freshman.  Second, two weeks ago he had a monster game against then 8th ranked Iowa (10 tackles).  Third, he’s had 26 tackles, five TFLs, 2.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and a blocked kick on the season.  And fourth, Borland attended Archbishop Alter HS (Kettering, Ohio) and was a four-sport athlete participating in football, basketball, track and tennis…wow!  Perhaps his most impressive high school feat was throwing 61’00 in the shot put and winning state runner-up at the Division 2 Ohio State Track Meet this past spring. 

There’s that number 61 again in the shot put…first Nebraska’s Suh and Crick, now Borland.  Who’s next?!

Sterling Griffin, WR – South Florida

Another true freshman without great statistics but when he’s made plays they’ve counted.  Griffin only has nine catches on the season for 190 yards and two touchdowns.  But his two touchdowns came against FSU and last week at West Virginia.  His scores were huge factors in both winning efforts.  I mentioned several weeks ago that USF has recruited some serious speed in last year’s class and one of those recruits was Griffin: 

University of South Florida recruited several very fast players too this past year.  2009 Recruits: Lindsey Lamar, Kayvon Webster and Sterling Griffin all have top notch track speed.  Even their linebacker recruit, Sam Barrington, ran hurdles and threw some discus in high school.  Lamar is already producing some numbers for USF after three games.    

Griffin has an extensive high school track background out of Monsignor Pace in Miami, Florida.  He was twice the state runner-up in the 400 meters (best time of 48.21) in Class 2A; and ran on the state champion 4×100 relay (41.79) in 2008, with a blistering best time of (41.04) at the Region 4-2A Meet.  Griffen even qualified for the state meet in the 4×400 relay finishing seventh in (3:22.01).   

Local Shout

Butler Bulldogs are now 8-0 but face three tough Pioneer League games to close the season. 

John Goodman, Notre Dame wide receiver, is picking up some quality playing time for the Irish particularly in ‘wildcat’ formations.  Goodman was a Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger HS (Indiana) graduate and a multi-sport athlete guy.  In fact, qualified multiple years for state track meet in 100, 200, and 4×100 relay. 

“Touchdown Man” Chad Spann, Northern Illinois running back, is tied for fifth in the nation in scoring with 14 touchdowns through 8 games.  Spann, a graduate of Indianapolis North Central HS, was a terrific track athlete as well.  Long jump probably was his best event with a best approaching 23-feet, (22.42) 200 meter dash, (6.72) 55 meter dash and was a member of 4×100 relay team (42.15) that finished fourth at the state meet in 2006.  Pretty amazing he was originally a walk-on for NIU…appears he’s earned his scholarship.        




Quarterbacks for 2009 skilled in more than reading defenses

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

Posted by Mark Branstad – Football Talent Advisors

I just received my weekly copy of the Sporting News and the cover reads “Year of the QB”.  The corresponding article claims 2009 is going to be an extraordinary year for quarterbacks…the basic sentiment out there is this year has an unusually large number of great college quarterbacks due to a number of factors.  Whether or not this is true depends on one’s perspective but the article makes clear there are a lot of good college QBs out there. 

Like always I took a closer look at where these players came from and what their athletic backgrounds were, and not surprising all 13 QBs spotlighted in the SN article played more than just football in high school.  Basketball, track / field and baseball were the most popular amongst these players.  

Clearly playing quarterback at an elite level requires the most specialized skills in football (sorry kickers).  Having said that, being a pure athlete is not considered an essential characteristic necessary for playing quarterback at an elite level. 

But looking at the athletic backgrounds of the quarterbacks listed below leads me to an intriguing, admittedly unoriginal, idea…perhaps collegiate quarterbacks ARE becoming more athletic or maybe they always have been and not many people noticed.  Maybe being competitive year round in high school, being a multi-sport athlete, is an important ingredient to becoming a successful quarterback?         

Here are the 13 QBs:

Tim Tebow– (Florida) Nease HS, FL. – played baseball and basketball in  high school

Sam Bradford – (Oklahoma) Putnam City North HS, OK. – played baseball and golf in high school

Colt McCoy – (Texas) Jim Ned HS, TX. – lettered 3 yrs. in  track, ran 110 – 300 hurdles and 4×400 relay, basketball high school player

Terrelle Pryor – (Ohio State) Jeannette HS, PA. – ran 22.98 / 200 as freshman in high school, four year basketball player…he can run but I doubt the 4.33 / 40 I’ve been hearing about!

Robert Griffin – (Baylor) Copperas Cove HS, TX. – I think everyone knows about his track background but 13.55 / 110 hurdles and 35.33 / 300 hurdles both high school state records in TEXAS! 

Zac Robinson – (Oklahoma State) Chatfield HS, CO. – 11.23 / 100 & 23.33 / 200 high school state meet qualifier in 2005, shows that mobility on the field. 

Juice Williams – (Illinois) Chicago Vocational HS, IL. – ran on 4×100 relay and 4×400 relay in high school

Case Keenum – (Houston) Wylie HS, TX. – 43’00 triple jumper and ran 300 hurdles in high school and lettered in basketball.

Jeremiah Masoli – (Oregon) Serra HS, CA & St. Louis HS, HI. – ran 100, 200 and threw shot put as a sophomore at Serra HS. 

Russell Wilson – (N.C. State) Collegiate HS, VA. – played baseball in high school and currently plays at N.C. State

Todd Reesing – (Kansas) Lake Travis HS, TX. – played baseball in high school

Jevan Snead – (Mississippi) Stephenville HS, TX. – played basketball and baseball as a freshman, then specialized on football

Dan LeFevour – (Central Michigan) Benet Academy HS, IL. – played basketball in high school

I’m going to add a few names to this list: (based on physical attributes, not necessarily production yet) 

Aaron Corp – (Southern California) Orange Lutheran HS, CA. – ran 4×400 relay and 400 meter dash in high school, he’s athletic enough to give USC another dimension at quarterback that they haven’t had. 

Franshaw “Boo” Jackson – (Ohio University) Lompoc HS, CA. – 45’00 triple jumper and 21’11 long jumper in high school, he’s relatively unknown but could have a big season in the MAC this year. 

Here’s a look into the future of athletic quarterbacks: (these guys are athletic enough to make the switch to other positions)

Denard Robinson – (Michigan) Deerfield Beach HS, FL. – ran 10.44 / 100 at the Broward County Athletic Association Championships this year.  Throw in a 21.89 / 200 at the 4A Region 3 Meet and you’ve got a very fast football player. 

Russell Shepard – (LSU) Cypress Ridge HS, TX. – ran as fast as 11.1 (FAT) and 4×100 (42.53), 4×200 (1:29.02), 21’11 long jump.  He’s a player that may make an early impact at multiple positions for LSU. 

Kevin Newsome – (Penn State) Churchland HS, VA. – arguably the MOST athletic incoming freshman quarterback, I know tough call but listen…14.15 /110 hurdle high school state champion, 4×100 (41.91) state champion runner and 7.35 / 55 indoor hurdle champion.  That last stat is flying!  He even threw some shot put during the indoor 2008 season.

Shavodrick Beaver – (Tulsa) Wichita Falls Rider HS, TX. – ran some 200 and 4×400 in high school, decommitted from Michigan and signed with Tulsa could be a big hit.  He’s not nearly as fast as the guys above but he can play. 

Tyrik Rollison – (Auburn) Sulphur Springs HS, TX. – triple jumped over 39’00, long jumped over 19’00 and ran 100 plus 4×100 in high school.  He seems to be in the athletic realm of current Auburn QB Kodi Burns

Jordan Luallen – (Georgia Tech) Center Grove HS, IN. – high school state meet qualifier 4×100 (43.24) and 4×400 (3:21.51) as a junior, ran 110 hurdles (14.93) / 300 hurdles (39.43) qualified for state in 2007, most impressive ran 55 indoor hurdles (7.87) as 6’03 185-190 pound sophomore.  He might not be as fast as Michigan recruit Robinson or Penn State recruit Newsome but he’s athletic enough to make an impact at GT.