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The whole damn shooting match on Cliff Russel (WR)!!!

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I think Spurrier will turn this guy into a gamebreaking beast in two years (or less). From the draftbook.com:

Cliff Russell

Wide Receiver



40: 4.27


Len Pasquarelli

You could assemble a pretty good sprint relay team from the wideouts who ran blazing 40-yard times at the combine. The quartet should include Aaron Lockett of Kansas State (4.31), Auburn's Tim Carter (4.32), Utah's Clifford Russell (4.36) and Javon Walker of Florida State (4.38)

WRs Tim Carter (Auburn), Andre Davis (Virginia Tech), Javon Walker (Florida State) and Cliff Russell (Utah): We're entering this quartet as our sprint relay team because all of them had terrific times Saturday on the notoriously slow RCA Dome track. More than that, however, each of them caught the ball well. Russell was clocked at 4.36 and 4.42 and has always been a terrific run-after-catch player. His route-running is still not disciplined but his elusiveness and rare burst are notable.


Pro Football Weekly

Notes: Hardly played as a freshman in 1998, when he did not catch a pass in the two games in which he appeared and missed six games with a broken collarbone. Played in nine games and started eight in '99, when he injured his knee in the opener and missed the next two games. Held on to 34 passes for 601 yards and three touchdowns during the regular season and then had five catches for 96 yards in the Las Vegas Bowl. In 2000, Russell missed three games in late October and early November with a broken arm but started the rest of the Utes' games and held on to 37-517-3. Had surgery on his jaw in the spring of '01 but came back in the fall to catch 53-744-4 and was a second All-Mountain West Conference pick. Positives: Well-built with a strong upper body. Has exceptional speed and above-average to good athletic ability. Hands are getting better and he can reach and pluck some balls now. Works hard. Is doing a better job of beating the jam. Has a very high upside because of his exceptional speed. Negatives: Does not have really soft and natural hands and still likes to body or basket catch the ball. More fast than quick and is not a great route runner. Just an average runner after the catch. Lacks great vision and elusiveness and is not going to break many tackles. Has a thin lower body and lacks functional lower-body strength as a runner after the catch. Inconsistent catching in a crowd. Has had some injury problems. Summary: Can run through a car wash without getting wet and catches OK, which means he can spread a defense and make some big plays. However, aside from exceptional speed, he is not special in any other area.

WR Cliff Russell hadn’t been mentioned in the same breath as other top receivers, such as Caldwell, Gaffney, Hawaii’s Ashley Lelie and Antonio Bryant of Pittsburgh — until Sunday. Russell, who’s hoping to follow the path to NFL respectability taken by Titans WR Kevin Dyson, also from Utah, posted a 4.39-second 40-time, assuring that his stock is on the rise.



Overall: 7.6

Strengths: Is rated high because of speed and potential. Is explosive. Shows an excellent burst off the line. Knows how to change speed, and seems to have a good feel for setting up defensive backs and getting open against zone coverage. Is athletic, and will make big plays. Shows good leaping ability. Is elusive after the catch. Is well built, and has excellent weight-room strength. Weaknesses: Is somewhat of a durability concern; hurt knee as a sophomore and broke an arm as a junior. Is somewhat inconsistent and raw. Needs to make routes crisper and improve consistency of hands. Has a lot of trouble catching passes away from his body; will jump or shift to catch ball with body, which eliminates a lot of yardage after the catch. Bottom line: Russell improved his stock as a senior, but he still is more of a developmental player than proven commodity. He has excellent speed and is explosive with the ball, but he still is rough around the edges. He needs work on his route-running skills and needs to become more consistent in all aspects of his game. Two red flags are Russell's inconsistent hands and durability.


Dan Pompei

Is a lanky speed merchant with excellent athleticism. Can make all the catches. Has had some durability problems. A lot of teams have yet to study him, but stock is on the rise.


Sporting News Draft Dish

Utah's Cliff Russell and Tennessee's Travis Stephens are two of the fastest-rising players in the draft process right now. Russell is a raw receiver with adequate size (5-11, 180), but he's been clocked as fast as 4.29 in the 40-yard dash and up to this point has shown good consistency and play-making skills with 35 catches in seven games and a 15.2 yards per-catch average.


Joel Buchsbaum

Another speed receiver who will drop some passes is Utah’s Cliff Russell, who does not have the return skills or return experience that Davis has. Russell may be the fastest football player ever at Utah, which means he is even faster than Andre Dyson and Steve Smith, who have really impressed with their speed as NFL rookies. Russell has a great second and third gear. He is only about 5-11 and 185 pounds but seems to be well-built for his size and is known as a good weight-room worker. He is pretty fluid, has good feet and can avoid but not overpower the jam. He is not a natural route-runner or receiver, and his hands are really hard to judge. He will make some really tough catches and snatch the ball when he has to on occasion, but he also drops some easy passes. At times, he seems to lack confidence in his ability to snatch the ball and tries to body-catch it. He missed three games with a broken arm last year but showed guts by playing with the arm far from 100 percent recovered at the end of the season. He has been a little more productive this year than last, but he still has dropped some passes.


Mel Kiper

One of the fastest players in the nation (4.27 speed in the 40-yard dash), Russell is coming off an impressive seven-catch, 157-yard performance this past week against Wyoming. Russell provides vertical-stretch ability and has developed into a much more consistent performer this season. The Utes have started a nice trend of late when it comes to developing future NFL wideouts, with Russell looking to follow in the footsteps of Kevin Dyson and Steve Smith.

Not only is Utah's Cliff Russell arguably the fastest wideout in college football (4.27-second 40-yard dash), but he also has the pass-receiving skills and consistency to enjoy a steady rise up the draft board. Of note was his eye-catching effort against Oregon, when he hauled in seven receptions for 100 yards. This past weekend, Russell caught three passes for 86 yards and a TD against New Mexico. Through four games, the athletically gifted 5-11½, 183-pounder is averaging 15.4 yards per catch on 19 receptions.


Great Blue North

With the college football season now just over the half way point, here is a look at a number of players making significant climbs up NFL scouts' draft charts. Some of the most interesting moves are among the WR corps, already a strong position for the 2002 draft. Players who run under 4.3 always tend to grab scouts attention and that's the case with Utah WR Chris Russell. Russell, in fact, has been clocked in the 40 at a brisk 4.27 and while still not a polished receiver has been coming on of late. For the year, the 5-11, 180-pound Russell has 28 receptions in 6 games, averaging over 16 yards per catch along the way.


Rob "Boomer" Rang

For this season, the top talent on my board is clearly speedster Cliff Russell. Russell has good size (5'11, 178, #1)and can simply fly down the field (verified 4.25 forty). He isn't nearly as smooth a receiver as some of the other prospects in this draft, and will take some time to get acclimated to the pro game, but you can't teach his physical ability.

Utah WR Cliff Russell (#1, 6-0, 180), for example, is one of the fastest players in the country and is an emerging star at the position after hauling in 53 passes this fall. Russell is still unpolished as a receiver, but with sub 4.3 speed has plenty of big-play potential.

Fast, fast, fast (4.27) wide receiver with good size and receiving ability. Catches the ball well, runs reliable routes, and heads up field quickly to make the big play. Excellent all around athlete. Super forty, but also is very strong (400 pound squat, 300 pound bench), and boasts a 41" vertical... Despite the fact that Steve Smith is enjoying so much early success with the Carolina Panthers this season, it was Russell who led the Utes in receiving last year, and that was despite missing much or all of the first 4 games with a broken arm. In fact, that is the one major concern with Russell. He has missed time in each season of his career, thus far. Missed 6 games as a redshirt freshman with a broken collarbone. Missed 2 games as a sophomore for tweaking his knee. And then, of course, he missed the 4 games last season. Needs to prove this season that he can, indeed, remain healthy, but if he can, you could see this kid flying up into the late 1st round.


Football Corner

Russell has nice size and amazing speed at the WR position. He is a pure burner that can create solid seperation from the defenders. He is a natural athlete that shows a nice ability to go up and catch the football. Russell can create after the catch. Russell has some durability concerns (could be considered injury prone) and needs to improve in all areas of the game. He is a natural talent that is surviving on tremendous athletic skills. He also needs to do a better job of catching with his hands.


John Murphy

Russell has all the tools to become a deep-threat receiver in the league. An All-Mountain West selection he gained 744 yards and four touchdowns, but some teams think he lacks the durability to be an every-down performer. Injuries to his collarbone, knee and arm cost him to miss time over the past four years. He has the size/speed that NFL scouts like to go along with decent hands, but sometimes allows passes to get into his body. His sub-4.4 speed should allow him to initially become an asset as a slot receiver and kickoff returner. Russell would be an ideal replacement for Az Hakim in St. Louis.

Analysis: Utah senior WR Cliff Russell has the best pure speed and acceleration of any receiver available in next year's NFL Draft. He finished last season with 37 catches for 517 yards and three touchdowns despite missing multiple games due to a broken arm. Potentially, Russell is the fastest player in the history of the Mountain West Conference, as he has a verified 40-time of 4.27. However, what sets him apart from other speedy receivers is that he also bench presses 300 pounds and squats 400 pounds, which should help him avoid getting jammed by pro corners. His 41" vertical also comes into play and has helped him average 15.7 yards per catch throughout his career. He had a bit of a pulled hamstring in the spring, but has been running without pain over the summer. His best games as a junior came against Arizona (10 receptions for 141 yards) and Washington State (8 receptions for 131 yards and 2 TDs), which also goes to prove that he does his best against top competition. Russell's speed and potential as a playmaker could allow him to follow in the footsteps of former Utes standout receiver Kevin Dyson, who was taken in the first round by the Tennessee Titans in 1999. His workout at the Indianapolis Combine is sure to be eye-catching to all scouts.


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