"He's going to surprise a lot of people," Cannon said.
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Russell is the classic case of the overlooked, overachieving athlete, who hardly had colleges banging down his door. Now, Baylor's Big 12 rival just to the south, Texas, would clamor for an option such as Russell, who has the speed to match his electrifying wide receivers, and the hops to throw down some massive slam dunks on the basketball court.
"When you think about it, it can be a little overwhelming if you don’t have confidence in what you can do,” Russell told Hayes. "If you don’t have confidence, you’re basically worthless."
The junior quarterback enters a team that returns 18 starters on both sides of the ball. On offense, he has a veteran line to protect him led by potential first-round draft pick Spencer Drango at left tackle. Senior running back Shock Linwood rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season and receivers Corey Coleman and KD Cannon are as good a combo there is in the Big 12.
Under coach Art Briles, Russell follows one of the most impressive assembly lines of quarterbacks anywhere in the nation from Robert Griffin III to Nick Florence to Petty.
If the athletic Russell can carry the torch, the Bears could be in line to do what none of the above quarterbacks could — win it all.