RECRUITING: ‘We Love Russell’
LSU quarterback commitment Russell Shepard back from Baton Rouge
by Daniel Mingea III
Tiger Rag Recruiting Analyst
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He’s regarded as one of the best high school quarterbacks in the country for the class of 2009.
He is as dangerous with his legs as with his arm, just ask his opponents. He plays in the biggest state in the country and plays in front of fans that live and die by their high school football. He is known as the players’ coach as he is aiding the Tigers’ staff in landing the top recruiting class for 2009. He has done all of this, but Russell Shepard (6′2, 185, 4.4) has never watched a collegiate football game from the stands.
That changed on Saturday as the Cypress Ridge High School product took in his very first college game inside of Tiger Stadium.
“It was a good experience,” Shepard expressed. “I got to spend some time with Andre Debose, Ray Ray Armstrong, Dyron Dye, Chris Faulk, and Chris Davenport. I feel like I already have a good relationship with Faulk and Davenport. Talking to them at the game felt like I’ve been knowing those two guys for years.
“I think the Florida guys were impressed by our relationships too,” Shepard continued. “Ray and Dyron really didn’t say too much at the game. They’re quiet dudes, but I was with Andre for the entire game. He seemed very excited and I know his father likes LSU a lot.”
Hanging with the recruits added to Shepard’s first game experience, but he was amazed before the ball was even kicked-off.
“I walked on the field during pregame and there were probably like 15,000 people in the stands and then I went back inside to talk to coach [Les] Miles. When I came back out there were like 95,000 strong in the stands. That was crazy! I love how the city stands behind its team. It was just an amazing time.
“LSU fans are second-to-none,” Shepard continued. “When I was on the field I could hear the fans shouting my name saying ‘we love Russell’. It was an amazing feeling considering I haven’t even stepped on the field yet as a player.”
Once the game began Shepard was just as impressed with what he witnessed on the field.
“LSU has a good defense,” Shepard claimed. “That’s a feisty bunch of guys. I thought the whole team did good against a good Mississippi State team. That was a team that barely lost to Auburn.
“I could see [Jarrett] Lee being the quarterback for the next three or four years,” Shepard admitted. “I was impressed with how he led the team. He threw an interception, but then came right back and threw a touchdown pass. And then of course Charles Scott ran the ball well.”
LSU’s victory over the Bulldogs combined with a few weekend-upsets left the Tigers on Sunday evening ranked #2 or #3 in the country depending on the poll. Are the Tigers worthy of their rankings?
“I guess people could debate that if they wanted to,” Shepard answered. “But I think LSU played well and if they’re ranked #2 or #3 then I think they deserve it. Although, I’d like to see them ranked #1. I’m proud of the way they’ve played so far this season. The next four or five weeks are going to be big tests for them though.
“They still have to play two amazing teams in Florida and Georgia,” Shepard concluded. “Even though they were both upset this weekend, they’re still dangerous. Florida has a Heisman winner in Tim Tebow and Georgia has arguably the best running back in the country in Knowshon Moreno. Then Ole Miss is going to be tough too. All of the remaining games will be tests for LSU.”