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Anthony Russo makes the Elite 11!

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Rutgers commit Anthony Russo has been selected to the prestigious Elite 11 by Head Coach Trent Dilfer and the rest of the coaching staff in Beaverton, Oregon.

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Anthony Russo: Learn the name, know the name, and love the name cause he Is here to stay.

Let's face it, a few months ago Anthony Russo was plan C. There is no denying it. Many Rutgers fans were confident either Jarrett Guarantano or Dwayne Haskins would commit to Rutgers at some point and would be fine with either. When JG bolted for Tennessee, Scarlet Knight fans were clinging onto the idea of Dwayne Haskins returning to NJ. Obviously things did not work out with him and we landed a 2-star QB from Pennsylvania that many people had not heard of.

Over the course of about 2 months, Anthony Russo has evolved from a no-name kid from a small school in Pennsylvania to one of the most elite quarterbacks in the entire country. After his performance at The Elite 11 Finals and The Opening, Russo will most likely vault up to a 4-star recruit and will have college scouts everywhere wondering how they missed this kid. Let's take a look at how he got there.

Summer of 2014

Russo is the backup quarterback to a two-year starter at a small but elite Pennsylvania high school.  Russo comes out to training camp and works his tail off and beats out the other kid for the starting job which he will have kept from that moment on. This shows Russo's relentless work ethic and how much he wanted the job to go out and take from someone who had the coach's trust for the two previous years.

2014 Season

In Russo's first season as a starter, he anchored a pre-style offense and put up incredibly efficent number. He finished with 21 TDs to only 2 INTs. More importantly Russo led his team to a state championship and the #1 ranking in the state. He proved that he deserved that starting job and put up great numbers in a limited role. One might have to guess if he played in a more air-raid offense he might of had more offers but his limited passing role may have been beneficial in Rutgers noticing him before anyone else.

Recruiting Circuit

After the season, recruiting hits high gear. However, Russo didn't gain any major offers. It took until March of 2015 for him to earn an offer from Rutgers during the unofficial visitors weekend. Check out this video from Todderick Hunt when Russo first received his offer.

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As previously mentioned, Russo was mainly only known as a plan C to Guarantano and Haskins and some people may have felt frustrated when he committed in May. However, Anthony Russo is Nobody's Consolation Prize. When Russo committed to Rutgers, he earned his third star in the 247 Composite Rankings.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Blessed, honored, and excited to officially be committed to RUTGERS UNIVERSITY ⚪️ <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CHOPNation?src=hash">#CHOPNation</a> <a href="http://t.co/lZpP7JcOjq">pic.twitter.com/lZpP7JcOjq</a></p>&mdash; Anthony Russo (@Anthony_Russo15) <a href="https://twitter.com/Anthony_Russo15/status/600453107235983360">May 19, 2015</a></blockquote>

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Camp Circuit

This is where Russo truly got to shine. In an environment where all the attention is on the QB, Russo got to show that he was more than a game manager. His first big wave was earning an invite to the Elite 11 Semifinals, featuring the top 30 QBs in the nation.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Official <a href="https://twitter.com/Elite11">@Elite11</a> Semifinal Invite came today in the mail So blessed to have this opportunity to go compete! <a href="http://t.co/XSKEShP7lh">pic.twitter.com/XSKEShP7lh</a></p>&mdash; Anthony Russo (@Anthony_Russo15) <a href="https://twitter.com/Anthony_Russo15/status/605795569735335936">June 2, 2015</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Blessed for the opportunity to go out and compete with these guys in LA this weekend <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Elite11?src=hash">#Elite11</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/Elite11">@Elite11</a> <a href="http://t.co/jPG4w1gc0q">pic.twitter.com/jPG4w1gc0q</a></p>&mdash; Anthony Russo (@Anthony_Russo15) <a href="https://twitter.com/Anthony_Russo15/status/605892321897357312">June 3, 2015</a></blockquote>

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This was not good enough for Russo, though. He kept grinding and dominated the 7 on 7 part of the semifinals and punched his ticket to Oregon for the Elite 11 Finals which included the top 18 signal callers in the country.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Congrats to the 15th invite to The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Elite11?src=hash">#Elite11</a> Finals, Archbishop Wood (PA) QB Anthony Russo (<a href="https://twitter.com/Anthony_Russo15">@Anthony_Russo15</a>) <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Rutgers?src=hash">#Rutgers</a> <a href="http://t.co/EpVXI6WUKn">pic.twitter.com/EpVXI6WUKn</a></p>&mdash; Elite11 (@Elite11) <a href="https://twitter.com/Elite11/status/608771850194313216">June 10, 2015</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Blessed, honored, and extremely excited to be able to be invited to the <a href="https://twitter.com/Elite11">@Elite11</a> finals and The Opening! Cant wait to go represent <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RU?src=hash">#RU</a> ⚪️</p>&mdash; Anthony Russo (@Anthony_Russo15) <a href="https://twitter.com/Anthony_Russo15/status/609047390646054912">June 11, 2015</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Love being able to represent <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CHOPnation?src=hash">#CHOPnation</a> ⚪️ <a href="http://t.co/AnFV8qFNBC">pic.twitter.com/AnFV8qFNBC</a></p>&mdash; Anthony Russo (@Anthony_Russo15) <a href="https://twitter.com/Anthony_Russo15/status/609047902095171584">June 11, 2015</a></blockquote>

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The Elite 11 Finals

This was the final step in Russo's long journey of competing with the best quarterbacks in the country. He started of very strong and made it known that he belonged. He was ranked as high as the second best QB there at one point. However, 7 on 7 play hit full swing and Russo's opportunities became limited. This is no knock to him, as he played his heart out. Shea Patterson happened to be on his team and was on another planet. The extent to how good Patterson was on Friday cannot be explained. Because of this, Russo did not get to showcase his abilities. However, it must be promising that he played half of one game and still earned a spot in the final 11. This shows that his off the field demeanor and dominance before the 7 on 7 were incredibly impressive. As you know by now, Russo capped off a memorable week by being on the winning team of the 7 on 7 tournament and earning a spot in THE Elite 11.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Congratulations to the 2015 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Elite11?src=hash">#Elite11</a> Quarterbacks! <a href="http://t.co/wddbvb2coo">pic.twitter.com/wddbvb2coo</a></p>&mdash; Elite11 (@Elite11) <a href="https://twitter.com/Elite11/status/619699164243333121">July 11, 2015</a></blockquote>

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Before that tweet went out, however, there was a picture of the ceremony that had many Rutgers fans, including yours truly, worried.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The Final Ceremony of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Elite11?src=hash">#Elite11</a> <a href="http://t.co/otouJqjL5i">pic.twitter.com/otouJqjL5i</a></p>&mdash; Elite11 (@Elite11) <a href="https://twitter.com/Elite11/status/619695112931532800">July 11, 2015</a></blockquote>

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This shows the final 18 QBs split into a group of 11 and a group of 7. Russo was not with the group of 11 and it was widely assumed that he had not made it. I am still not sure what was going on there, but at the end of the day Russo earned his way into the most elite group of quarterbacks in the country.

One undeniable aspect of Russo is his great character. He is incredibly humble and at the same time one of the hardest workers out there. He found time to write about each day of the event with 247 Sports and even took time to thank the greatest fans in the country.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Shoutout to all the love from the best fan base in the country!! Glad I can be out here supporting you guys!! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ChopNation?src=hash">#ChopNation</a></p>&mdash; Anthony Russo (@Anthony_Russo15) <a href="https://twitter.com/Anthony_Russo15/status/618943204692393984">July 9, 2015</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Rutgers?src=hash">#Rutgers</a> QB commit <a href="https://twitter.com/Anthony_Russo15">@Anthony_Russo15</a>, a top <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Elite11?src=hash">#Elite11</a> contender, has a message for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ChopNation?src=hash">#ChopNation</a>... <a href="https://t.co/kLhTtVNLgA">https://t.co/kLhTtVNLgA</a></p>&mdash; Tyler Donohue (@TDsTake) <a href="https://twitter.com/TDsTake/status/618889503336464384">July 8, 2015</a></blockquote>

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Congratulations Anthony and we wish you nothing but the best! We can't wait till you make it back to The Banks!