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Anthony Russo is Nobody's Consolation Prize

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Get over the pain of missing out on Dwayne Haskins by getting to know Anthony Russo.

Keep the Faith ChopNation!
Keep the Faith ChopNation!
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

OK folks, it is blind "taste-test" time.

Given three QB junior-year statistic lines, tell me who is the highest rated prospect.

Player A: 70/124 (56.5%), 139 ypg, 21 TDs vs 2 INTs, 124 QBR
Team Record in 2014: 14-1, State Champ, poll: 1st in state.

Player B: 159/259 (61.4%), 193.6 ypg, 22 TDs vs 5 INTs, 105 QBR
Team record in 2014: 9-1, poll: 14th best in state.

Player C: 88/153 (57.5%), 93.6 ypg, 9 TDs v. 9 INTs, 73.2 QBR
Team record in 2014: 8-3, poll: 6th best in state.

*all statistics from MaxPreps

While all three have similar completion rates, by most of the other metrics, Player C is pretty clearly the outlier on the low-end, right? Player C has far lower yards per game, fewer than half as many TDs as Players A & B, and 450% more interceptions than A. His team, although playing in a tough division, lost three games that he played in - some of the wins came with a different QB at the helm because of an injury to C's throwing wrist.

Choosing between Players A & B seems like a toss-up, depending on whether you prefer completion percentage and yards per game, or TD/INT as your metrics of choice.

Player C is Jarrett Guarantano.  I know, I know, this doesn't tell the whole story because he runs frequently and effectively, in addition to passing. I get it. I would have loved to have him in Scarlet, but he was never a messiah-figure for me - he needs some work, and I'm not sure his strengths fit our system well.

Player B is Dwayne Haskins, the latest high profile Jersey player to commit to somebody other than Kyle Flood.  Very impressive numbers, and worthy of his lofty rating. No doubt about it, could have been an amazing, program-changing type commit for us.  Le sigh, this is why God gave us bourbon.

Lucy

But fear not Scarlet Knights! Player A is Anthony Russo (Archbishop Wood HS, Warminster, PA), possibly the next signal-caller to commit to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (and hopefully soon!). Put aside losing out on the other two, and Russo would be IS a prized recruit on his own, by the numbers. He led a state champion powerhouse in a tough division, and although operating in a run-first offense, was very efficient in the passing game - he had almost the same number of passing TDs as Haskins on half as many attempts, and half as many INTs.

There is a reason the Rutgers staff gave Russo (and only Russo) a committable offer months ago, while pursuing Guarantano and Haskins - they see something special here. Rutgers has been recruiting other QBs, like South Carolina's Steven Duncan. But only Russo received an offer with the other two.

Russo is 6'3", 230 lbs, and Rutgers system would fit him like a glove.  Russo visited Rutgers on Thursday (scheduled before Haskins' commitment date was public), and by all accounts the visit went very well.  Temple and UConn are probably his best offers besides Rutgers, but I think he is underrated and under-recruited because of how much Archbishop Wood ran the ball, and because this was his first year as the varsity QB.

Russo's highlights show a QB with a big frame, strong arm, and the ability to go through progressions to find an open receiver.  What's not to like about a guy like that?

Here are some more reasons to like Russo: he threw for 10 yards-per-attempt (compared to 7.5 ypa for Haskins).  Russo was certainly not dinking-and-dunking his way to victory, and those numbers tell us he was working very effectively and hitting on big plays off play-action, as you might expect given his team's strong ground game. Combine that YPA with a very low number of interceptions, and that sounds like an effective Rutgers QB to me.

Hopefully Mr. Russo gives the Scarlet faithful some good news soon.  We could use it.