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  1. #1
    COJOMAY is offline Jersey Retired
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    Russell out of Gopher Football

    This is sad to hear because I believed he would be a more brusing RB in the NFL than Maroney. He's got thighs as big as most RB legs. Just a real powerhouse of a runner and has never been hurt. Losing him will hurt the Gophers next year A LOT!

    [size=18px]Gophers running back Russell leaves school[/size]
    [size=18px]Academic issues have caused the backfield's top hope to begin making plans to attend a junior college and regain eligibility.[/size]
    Chip Scoggins, Star Tribune

    Gophers sophomore running back Gary Russell is no longer in school because of academic shortcomings, and his future with the program is in serious jeopardy, a major blow to a team that already lost star tailback Laurence Maroney this offseason.

    The school announced only that Russell is not enrolled in classes this semester. Citing privacy laws, school officials did not give a reason for his departure, but Russell said he did not meet academic requirements.

    "I'm mostly frustrated and disappointed with myself because I could have avoided this problem," Russell said Friday night. "I messed up."

    Russell, who was expected to be one of the top running backs in the Big Ten next season, said he intends to enroll in a junior college this semester and hopes to be academically eligible to return to Minnesota this summer.

    He said he will meet with his family and Gophers coaches next week to determine which junior college he should attend.

    Several people associated with the program refused to rule out the possibility that Russell could return next season or in the future. However, he would have to clear a number of eligibility hurdles, which makes it unlikely he would be reinstated.

    "I'm not sure," Russell said when asked about his future. "I'm going to try my best. That's all I can do. I've just got to keep my head up."

    Rumors began to circulate about Russell's tenuous academic situation before the Music City Bowl in December. Russell said several of his family members had a meeting with school officials recently to clarify his status.

    "We thought it was going to get cleared up," he said.

    The school allowed Russell to continue taking classes while his status was reviewed. The word came Friday that he would not be allowed to officially enroll.

    "While this is disappointing for everyone involved, we want what is best for Gary and will help him in any way allowable," Gophers coach Glen Mason said in a statement. "Gary has been a part of our family, and we will continue to support him."

    Russell's departure caps a turbulent six weeks for the Gophers. Mason's contract negotiations became a daily spectacle that overshadowed the bowl game against Virginia. That finally got settled at the 11th hour, but the Gophers haven't had much positive news elsewhere.

    Maroney left school early to enter the NFL draft, and assistant coach Kerry Cooks defected to Wisconsin. Injured safety Brandon Owens had major surgery on his shoulder, and his career appears over. Redshirt freshman quarterback Marcel Jones was charged with third-degree felony assault last week for his role in a December fight at a house party. The Gophers 2006 recruiting class, unveiled Wednesday, was widely ranked near the bottom of the Big Ten.

    Now the team likely must find a way to replace Russell, who rushed for 1,130 yards and a single-season school record of 19 total touchdowns in 2005. Russell, who was named honorable mention all-Big Ten by coaches and media and also became the first player in school history to have eight multi-touchdown games in a season.

    Junior Amir Pinnix likely will assume the No. 1 role. He has rushed for 604 yards on 104 carries in two seasons. Redshirt freshman Jay Thomas, who had offseason knee surgery, and junior college transfer Brylee Callender of Lakeville also should be in the mix for playing time.

    The Gophers offense also must replace graduating All-America linemen Greg Eslinger and Mark Setterstrom.
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  2. #2
    V4L's Avatar
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    Re: Russell out of Gopher Football

    Wow that sucks! He is a great back.. Pinnex will be fine next year though

  3. #3
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    Re: Russell out of Gopher Football

    D@mn it!!! That really fricken' sucks!! Maroney want to come back????

    I get the most pissed off looks from people with my VKG 4 LFE Wisconsin license plate, and I LOVE IT!!

  4. #4
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    Re: Russell out of Gopher Football

    It does suck... We won't have 2 1000 yard rushers next year! Oh well Pinnex will get 2000

  5. #5
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    Re: Russell out of Gopher Football

    Owens career is probably over crap there goes the defense.

  6. #6
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    Re: Russell out of Gopher Football

    It was in the Minnesota Daily (University paper) paper last Thursday and he plans on going to CC this semester and summer to get eligible and then return next fall. Not a good situation for the Gophers but lets hope Russell gets his head on right and returns.

    A couple of guys to watch in his place may be Amir Pinnix, Jay Thomas (RS last year) and new JC signee Brylee Callander who was a dominant high school back in MN a couple of years ago but had grade problems.
    "Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn t work hard."

  7. #7
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    Re: Russell out of Gopher Football

    The Gophers running game isnt much of a concern. They hae a lot of good backs still. The defense needs a lot of help.

  8. #8
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    Re: Russell out of Gopher Football

    "finnishvikingsfan" wrote:
    The Gophers running game isnt much of a concern. They hae a lot of good backs still. The defense needs a lot of help.
    Yeah, they can never seem to recruit any speed or playmakers on defense which in turn prevents them from having that breakout season.
    "Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn t work hard."

  9. #9
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    Re: Russell out of Gopher Football

    pinnix impressed me this season, so i dont think losing him will hurt too much..with gopher football it all starts with the o-line
    People who see life as anything more than pure entertainment are missing the point.

  10. #10
    DarrinNelsonguy's Avatar
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    Re: Russell out of Gopher Football

    "olson_10" wrote:
    pinnix impressed me this season, so i dont think losing him will hurt too much..with gopher football it all starts with the o-line
    Yeah but we lost our 2 best lineman in Eslinger and Setterstrom to graduation.
    "Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn t work hard."

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