Then we have freshman Russell Bellomy. He's a big deal in his own right, but the Texas native has yet to gain the notoriety or generate the excitement of his two QB teammates. Russell acknowledges this.
"I know the guys that I have to compete with, and it's going to be a high level of competition...I'm excited to go up there and prove myself. I know there're a lot of people who are kinda doubting me. And there's nothing wrong with that! But I understand that I have to prove myself, and I'm excited to get a chance, and it's all on my shoulders now."
To give Russell his due, he held offers from over 15 Division 1 programs as a recruit, and his initial Touch the Banner post by Thunder had plenty of good things to say about him. One of those things was, "Bellomy has some serious wheels and escapability," and Russell is quick to acknowledge the benefits of his legs. However, he also makes his primary responsibilities in the Al Borges offense known.
"Obviously it’s a pro style offense; it’s different than the spread. You know, pass the ball, check-down, check-down, check-down. Not, if you’re first read's not there, just take off. So that’s what I’m going to be working on a lot: progression reads."
Perfecting the new offense will certainly take time. Bellomy has been in possession of the playbook for several months now and admits that "it's like learning another language." Although he recognizes that intervening factors may lead to early playing time, he isn't opposed to redshirting in order to develop as a player and learn the new offense. "I'm up for whatever," he says.
Another thing that Russell has always been up for is capitalizing on opportunity. During football games, Bellomy did just that, earning a 4-0 record against his HS rivals, almost always "finding a way to win" against formidable in-state competition. Similarly, Russell also kept an eye out for opportunity during his recruitment process.
"Recruitment started off pretty slow because all the way up until school my junior year, I played baseball; [I’ve played] ever since I’ve been a little kid, and so that consumes your whole summer. So I didn't get to go to all these college one-day camps because I was playing baseball...it’s at these camps where you get noticed, and so I don’t know if that had an effect on my recruiting…after my Junior football season, I decided to quit baseball, and then I made a highlight tape and sent it out to coaches, and about a week after I started getting some responses..."
"...I ended up choosing Purdue [on] June 1st. I’ll never forget that. But then the best opportunity I’ve ever had fell in my lap. In the middle of January, I got a call from my head coach, and he said ‘hey Russ, Michigan called; are you interested?’ He left me that voicemail, and I was just like ‘is that even a question?’ So I called him back, and then Coach Borges ended up coming down here to my school, and then he came for a home visit right after that, and we sat here from about 6:30 on just sitting here talking, and on the way back to the hotel, he called me and offered me, and me and my dad were going insane. So I took an official visit as soon as I could…and on the plane ride home, I switched my commitment."Russell "isn't a shy guy" and I get the sense that he'll do well with the leadership aspects of the quarterback position, such as building relationships with teammates, modeling strong practice routines and asserting himself vocally. With the ability to both run and throw, his maturation as a leader and passer will be fun to watch over the next four years.
There's no doubt that Denard Robinson and Devin Gardner bring high expectations and much excitement to the Michigan football program. Russell Bellomy fits right in.