Rummel’s Russolino Pursuing The NFL

Taylor Russolino

NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans has no shortage of football hometown heroes. Most of those household names take the route from local high school standout to college star to NFL draftee. Rummel High School graduate Taylor Russolino is making the name for himself in the placekicking world, taking an unusual route.

         Russolino was a soccer player who became All-District and All-Metro, but things changed suddenly when he was asked to kick for the Rummel Raiders varsity football team. Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi came calling and Russolino went on to kick for the Millsap Majors.

         “My four years at Millsaps really put my passion for kicking into place,” Russolino said. “I only played one year in high school so I still had a lot to learn.”

         Taylor finished holding several kicking records at Millsap and, following a successful collegiate career, Russolino signed his first professional contract with the Marion Blue Racers of the CIFL, where his length-of-field kickoff odds/field goals (called 'UNO') were crowd favorites.

         AFL Russolino then joined the New Orleans VooDoo. “Being on the VooDoo roster was surreal,” he said. “Playing in front of my friends and family was something that I’ll never forget and I hope to do it again.”

         Russolino signed with the Spokane Empire of the IFL and has since spent time living in Southern California training with his personal coach, long-time NFL placekicker Michael Husted. “Having the opportunity to work with Taylor on a consistent basis has been great,” Husted said. “His commitment to move out west and train with us is directly proportionate to his progress. Kicking with and learning from each other extends beyond the field. His passion and determination is what we look for when bringing people into our group.”

         “Being able to learn from some of the guys that I study film on is the best education possible,” Russolino said.

         Jacksonville Jaguars placekicker Jason Myers is one of those guys. “Watching Taylor, and where he was, and where he is now is something special,” Myers said. “He always would show sparks of the talent. But his drive and commitment set him apart. Many people give in, but Taylor never did. He worked even harder. To see him get a chance to head to China and represent the U.S. is amazing. He is the perfect person to help spread how great football truly is.”

         Myers is referring to the new Chinese Arena Football League. 2016 was the league’s inaugural season and Russolino was the first kicker selected in the draft to play for the Shanghai Skywalkers. “There's a reason he was the first kicker selected in the AFL China draft,” Husted said. “We expect nothing more than for him to be successful and be a significant part of the team.”

         Russolino was consistently one of the best kickers in the league all season, was named first-team All-Pro and was one of eight players selected to the CAFL Dream Team. “Putting the honor into words just isn’t possible,” Russolino said. “The entire experience was fantastic. I learned a lot from the people in China and I’ll use the entire experience to further my career.”

         Taylor has been invited to the prestigious Pro Free Agent Special Teams Combine in Mobile, Alabama, Jan. 21-24. The camp is put on by Michael Husted and is run simultaneously with the Senior Bowl so NFL scouts will be there in numbers. Reps for Russolino said he is prepared to impress these scouts and coaches with his accuracy and attitude, leading to a coveted spot on the NFL roster.

         See Russolino in action here

         On Instagram

 

 

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