The SEC Blog will be counting down the top 150 players in the SEC every day, concluding on Aug. 30 at the start of the college football regular season.
103. Tyler Russell, No. 17, Mississippi State, Quarterback
2011 Stats: 69-for-129, 1,034 yards, eight touchdowns, four interceptions
He was, arguably, the top recruit to commit to play for Dan Mullen's Mississippi State Bulldogs. Russell came out of Meridian (Miss.) High School ranked as the No. 13 quarterback in the country in 2009, and was named the 2008 Mississippi high school player of the year. At 6'4", 220 pounds, Russell has the size and arm strength to be a star at this level and the next.
Russell injured his MCL this winter, which forced him to sit out the Music City Bowl against Wake Forest. He is fully recovered now, but practice is different than real games, so it's at least a small concern. What's a bigger concern for him is whether or not Mullen will adjust his play-calling and revolving door of quarterbacks enough to allow Russell—who's more of a pocket passer—to thrive.
Expect big things. Mississippi State has three solid receivers in Chad Bumphis, Arceto Clark and Joe Morrow, so Russell will have plenty of weapons to throw to. Russell won't be in the top tier of SEC passers with Tyler Russell and Aaron Murray, but don't be surprised if he is in the conversation for the tier right below them.