A University of Florida football signee and early enrollee is ending his football career due to a recently discovered heart condition.
Randy Russell, a three-star safety from Miami’s Carol City, had recently enrolled at the Gainesville campus and was starting spring classes this week. That was when doctors discovered “an abnormality in [his] cardiac workup” during a pre-participation physical, a statement from Florida senior associate athletic director Steve McClain and obtained by the Sun-Sentinel announced on Thursday.
Russell posted on Twitter that he was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
“It is extremely hard to believe that after going through the process of early graduation, and consistently physically preparing myself for the next level, today, that all comes to an end,” Russell tweeted. “Although it may seem as if things have come to an end, I know that God has greatness in store for me.”
Carol City coach Benedick Hyppolite shared a similar optimistic sentiment for Russell’s future to the Sun-Sentinel.
“I know he will be a great success story,” Hyppolite said. “There’s no doubt in my mind, years down the line, we will be looking at a fine young man, a great leader, a great citizen, a great man of God and a great father — just understanding what he meant to the Carol City community, what he meant to this program, what he meant for every young child chasing a dream such as the one that he did.”
Hyppolite told the Sun-Sentinel there were “never” any signs that Russell could have such a condition while at Carol City.
“[He] just was a warrior, would never give up, would never slow down, just throw his body around, always had the motivation to go a step further, always wanted to put forth his best effort, always was upbeat and motivated even after a loss,” Hyppolite said.
According to a statement from new Gators coach Dan Mullen, it appears UF will honor Russell’s scholarship.
“We will be fully supportive in any way we can for Randy and his family. He will continue to be a part of the Gator football family and we will assist him in his academic pursuits at the University of Florida,” Mullen said. “As tragic as this is for Randy and his family to hear this news, this discovery is life-saving for him.”
The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Robinson was rated the nation’s 28th-best safety and the No. 71 player in the Class of 2018 in Florida, according to 247 Sports’ composite rankings.