Overview: Jacob Russell is a senior who played quarterback and also played baseball for Campbellsville University. He started off his college career at University of Kentucky before transferring to Campbellsville University. He is a smart, athletic, and is very accurate with the football.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jacob, during which time he told me more about his background, his personality and his overall love for football.
Christa: For the people who do not know your story, how did you wind up choosing Campbellsville University?
JR: When I decided to transfer from the University of Kentucky, Campbellsville was one of the first schools to contact me because of my close friend Jordan Alves who works for the University. I stayed in touch with both the football and baseball coaches throughout the process and felt like it was the best fit when considering both sports. Brad Neffendorf did a great job selling the baseball program, and one of the main reasons I chose Campbellsville was QB coach Hunter Cantwell, who played in the NFL and has experience and knowledge that’s very rare for a coach at that level.
C: Since you are from a smaller school, how do you plan on making yourself stand out and noticed by scouts?
JR: I’ve already had the opportunity to compete at the College Gridiron Showcase earlier this month, and plan on attending a regional combine and hopefully a few pro days held by bigger schools. The key is to put in hours upon hours of hard work so that when these events happen I don’t have to press to try and impress the scouts but can just relax and have fun. The NFL teams do a great job of extensively researching each prospect, so I must continue to rely on my preparation and not try and play outside myself when the opportunities to perform present themselves.
C: What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses?
JR: My strengths are decision making, timing, accuracy, and the ability to effectively lead an offensive unit. Most NFL QB’s are going to have good arm strength and adequate athleticism, so I believe these strengths mentioned above are the difference in having success at the highest levels. Being great is really just being consistently good, and by excelling in these things day after day, I create the opportunity to play 12-15 years in the NFL. My biggest perceived weakness coming from a lower level school will be my lack of experience against higher level competition. NFL defenses do a great job of disguising and masking their schemes and coverages in ways that I haven’t seen the past few years. I will prepare myself for this through acquiring as much knowledge as possible about NFL defensive and offensive schemes and concepts, as well as using all the first hand resources that come with playing at the pro level (game film, coaches, veterans, etc.)
C: What separates you from the other players at your position?
JR: The ability to take the game one moment at a time and treat each individual play as its own. This allows me to stay dialed in on getting my team into the best possible plays and situations, while not letting past successes or failures effect my decision making for that particular play. While it’s important to find weaknesses and tendencies in a defense, I can’t get into a bad habit of making predetermined decisions or trying to force a big play downfield, but instead continually take what the defense is giving.
C: Which current or former NFL player do you think you resemble and why?
JR: Kirk Cousins, because we have a lot of similarities physically as well as in our style of play. He experienced some failure and learning opportunities his first few years in the league and has shown great resiliency in using those moment fuel a great 2015 season. He’s an extremely accurate passer, who consistently takes what the defense is giving, and makes all those around him better. I see a lot of the same traits that he possesses in my own game, and can hopefully experience a similar career trajectory as him.
C: What pressures are there during games to complete plays/succeed. How do you deal with these pressures?
JR: I don’t feel any pressure during the actual games themselves, but rather in the days leading up to the game. Especially when the season starts and you have basically 5 days to fully prepare yourself for that week’s opponent. In those 5 days I have to get the proper film study, weight lifting and conditioning, throwing, and game plan install among other factors that determine your success in the game. The games are really just a product of all the work I’ve put in that week and the countless days before, so the only thing left to do on game day is relax and trust your preparation.
C: Who is the toughest player you’ve ever faced in your college career?
JR: Danny Trevathan (starting LB Denver Broncos) in practice at UK.
C: How do you prepare for game day? Do you have any game day rituals?
JR: On game day I like to go out a few hours before the game and throw, getting the rhythm and feel with my throwing mechanics. A couple minutes before the game I will get snaps with my center and take some final throwing reps. In the moments right before kickoff I will pray, clear my mind, and find a state of relaxation that I will keep throughout the game.
C: If could be any superhero who would it be and why?
JR: Raymond Reddington from the blacklist, because like any great QB, he’s always 2 steps ahead of the opposition and never lets any situation get the best of him.
C: What was your favorite moment/play at Campbellsville University?
JR: Beating Reinhardt in 2014 to secure the conference title and a playoff birth, giving me my first ring.
Locker Room Update would like to thank Jacob Russell for taking the time to speak with us. We wish him the best of luck as he continues his journey as an NFL 2016 draft prospect.
You can check out his hightlights here
Follow him on Twitter: @jruss5qb