Alonzo Russell is a freak. The six foot four, 190-pound wide receiver is quick like lightning and has Velcro for hands. The Third-Team ALL-MAC selection was only a sophomore last season playing behind Bernard Reedy, but with Reedy now playing on Sundays, how will Russell respond?
At MAC Media Day a reporter asked Toledo Rocket's head football coach Matt Campbell "If Russell was embracing the role of the No. 1 wide receiver for the Rockets?" Coach Campbell chuckling said back, "I hope so."
Campbell should hope so. With no other proven wide receivers on the team Russell needs to have a strong junior year. Russell caught 59 passes with 728 receiving yards with six touchdowns last season for the Rockets. Russell also was 10th in the MAC in both receptions per game (4.9) and receiving yards per game (60.7). With his great season Russell was named to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List which is given to the nation's best receiver. Last season Brandon Cooks of Oregon State won the award over Russell.
Clutch and speed is something you can't coach. When his team needed him the most Russell stepped up last season catching a touchdown pass with under two minutes left to beat the Rockets rival Bowling Green. Russell reportedly ran a 4.5 40-yard dash in high school which makes him a deep treat every time he is on the field.
Russell also made the one of the most unreal catches the MAC has ever seen earning him "Play of the Day" on ESPN.
Russell was briefly redshirted his freshman year, but then the coaching staff realized they had something special. He played in every game that year catching 56 receptions for 960 receiving yards with 5 touchdowns including a 66-yard moon shot from then quarterback Terrance Owens.
Coming out of high school, Russell was talented but his grades scared some schools away. Russell went to The Milford Academy, which is a prep school in New York, to fix his grades. After working hard on being a student he was rewarded with multitudes of scholarships from schools including, Iowa, North Carolina State, and Oklahoma State, etc. He was a 3 star recruit by Rivals.com. Russell was also the 19th best prep school prospect in 2011, per 247Sports. He committed to the Rockets two days before Christmas in 2011.
It is still undecided on who will replace Owens this season at quarterback. Whether it is Phillip Ely, Logan Woodside, or even Michael Julian they will have one of the best wideouts in the MAC to throw to.