LSU football: 5 great players who didn’t live up to the NFL hype

JaMarcus Russell of the LSU Tigers. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
JaMarcus Russell of the LSU Tigers. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images) /
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LSU football overrated players, NFL busts
LSU football (Photo by Richard Schultz/Getty Images) /

From the moment that JaMarcus Russell got his opportunity to take the reins of the LSU offense, he proved he had all the tools in the world to be a top-tier quarterback. With a big body and canon for an arm, he waited his turn as he redshirted the 2003 season. After starting his redshirt freshman season as the backup, though, he was starting by the end of the year, going 73-of-144 for 1,053 yards, nine scores and four picks for the season.

Named the starter as a redshirt sophomore in the 2005 season, Russell was a dominant force. He completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 2,443 yards, 15 scores and nine interceptions while leading the Tigers to the SEC Championship Game, a loss to Georgia. That injury kept him out of the Peach Bowl, which Matt Flynn came in and won for LSU.

Russell beat out Flynn for the starting job the following season and again led LSU to plenty of success and continued to improve as a player. The Tigers not only went 10-2 again but earned a berth in the Sugar Bowl. The quarterback threw for 3,129 yards while completing 67.8 percent of his throws with 28 scores and eight picks. Furthermore, he dominated in the Sugar Bowl win over Notre Dame with 350 yards of offense and three touchdowns.

With his tools and college success, Russell was selected No. 1 overall in the 2007 NFL Draft by the then-Oakland Raiders, who then signed him to a monster contract after a lengthy holdout. Considered one of the biggest draft busts in NFL history, Russell lasted only three seasons before getting released, going 7-18 as a starter and turning the ball over 38 times with only 18 scores.

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