Ever since Doug Flutie enrolled at Boston College in January of 1981, Temple has been looking for its own Doug Flutie.
It may have found him shortly after lunch today.
Temple Football Forever has learned from very good sources that Archbishop Wood’s Anthony Russo had lunch with LSU today, chewed on the Tigers’ pitch and decided by dessert that he was going to become a Temple Owl.
We have received two phone texts tonight from separate sources indicating this is true, including from someone whose “mom works with a friend of mine.” Since Anthony Russo was not taking interviews until further notice, figuring that he talks to his mother is not a huge leap of faith and would spill the beans to her.
This is huge for Temple University for a couple of reasons.
One, The Flutie Effect. Two, with P.J. Walker gone after next season, Temple needs a play-making quarterback.
The Flutie Effect is signing a big-time kid from your own backyard could lead to a domino effect of other big-time kids from the same backyard. That leads to sustained success of the hometown team, which leads to a boom in student applications. In a 1984 game against the University of Miami, Flutie threw a last-second “Hail Mary” pass 48 yards that was miraculously caught for a game-winning touchdown—a climactic capper on one of the most exciting college football games ever. The play put BC on the map for college aspirants. In two years, applications had shot up 30 percent.
Russo’s program-defining pass is yet to come, but he is certainly capable of it. Temple has had a lot of good-to-great quarterbacks since Doug Flutie, including current starter P.J. Walker, the school’s all-time touchdown leader. Temple has never recruited the best high school quarterback coming out of the Philadelphia area. Even Haverford High’s Steve Joachim, who won the Maxwell Award as College Football Player of the Year in 1974, was never signed by Temple. He was a transfer from Penn State, where he started two games.
Russo changes that dynamic. He is an Elite 11 quarterback who has functional mobility, who would fit perfectly into the same Pro Set system new Owls’ offensive coordinator Glenn Thomas helped run with the Atlanta Falcons and Matt Ryan.
Ironically, Ryan who, like Russo, is from a Philadelphia high school league (Inter-Ac), but went to Boston College. Even though Russo is from Warminster, he is Philly proud enough to say “I’m Anthony Russo from Philadelphia” in many of his interviews.
Now Anthony Russo will get a chance to put Temple and his home town on map. Even if they officially call the new on-campus stadium “The Apollo of Temple” maybe one day fans will unofficially refer to it as “the house Anthony Russo built.