All Grant Russell is asking for is an opportunity.
The junior quarterback, who has started for Newark since his freshman season, has several Division I colleges interested, but none have made an offer.
Russell has sent plenty of film to college coaches, as well as attending camps in hopes of getting his name out there. He’s also been on several unofficial college visits to talk with coaches.
Although the interest has been high, the 6-foot-3, 210 pound Russell still is waiting to hear something official.
“It’s a difficult process, but a great process,” Russell said. “You just have to have patience, and when one door closes, hopefully another will open. It’s been bumpy, but it is what it is.”
During spring break, Russell visited Ball State and Louisville. Other schools that have shown a lot of interest include Bowling Green, Toledo, Kent State, Akron and Wisconsin.
Just this week, Kentucky, Purdue and Arkansas contacted Russell.
Russell has had the benefit of running the spread offense the past three seasons and, although Newark has struggled as a team, Russell has been productive, passing for more than 3,700 yards.
“He has had a lot of colleges watch him throw, but recruiting, especially the quarterback position, is tough at the Division I level,” Newark coach Gregg Forsythe said. “I know most of the coaches that I have talked to say his throwing motion is great.
“All the coaches say a bad throwing motion is hard to fix, but they have raved about his throwing motion. He just has to find the right fit, and I think he will.”
The fact Newark only has won three games with Russell starting under center might have hindered his progress. He said it is a little frustrating when he goes to camps and other players ask about how his team did.
Newark Catholic’s Chayce Crouch, also a junior, led the Green Wave to the Division IV state title game. He already has three offers, and Granville junior Isaac Maurer, who will be a first-year starter this fall and is receiving interest from Division I schools, has yet to be offered.
Russell said it probably would help if he played for a winning team, but he doesn’t think that is the end-all of him getting a scholarship.
“I’m sure the exposure of playing in the playoffs helped Chayce,” Russell said. “But I feel like if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. I like playing for Newark and I wouldn’t want to play for anyone else. I love the feeling I get on Friday night playing at White Field.”
Forsythe said: “It definitely helps if you win a lot of games in high school, but if you are good enough, they are going to find you. There are a lot of players that receive scholarships that are not from a winning program.”
Russell knows the next few months will be important when he throws for more coaches and attends camps this summer.
He plans on attending as many as eight camps, including all of the schools that have shown major interest in him.
“As the summer progresses, I’m going to go to these camps, work as hard as I can and see what happens,” Russell said. “I would love to commit before the season, but I don’t have any offers yet, so it’s hard to tell. I want to do whatever I can to show people that I’m not just another player.
“I just need to fine-tune my mechanics. That’s the biggest thing, and being able to just have the right mind-set going in. Knowing what I can do and executing that in front of the coaches is the most important thing. I’m going to keep working hard day in and day out.”
Russell said of the camps he has attended he feels like he stacks up well against other quarterbacks. His goal is to continue to throw well when he gets the opportunity.
“I love the competition and I love competing against other people, especially throwing the football,” Russell said. “I feel like I do my job as well as anyone. There are few guys that are a cut above, but throw for throw, I would like to think that I stack up against most of them.”
“I’ve been working hard on my agility and speed, and I’m trying to get faster and stronger this spring with hopes that it will propel me into having a great summer. They can like you one day and then not talk to you again if they get a commit from another player. It’s like a roller-coaster ride.”