Ten years ago at Rummel High School began Taylor Russolino’s journey that no one could predict. In the middle of their season, the Raiders’ football team found themselves in need of a kicker. Enter Russolino, a center back on the soccer team known for his strong leg.
“I had no idea of the steps or anything, as far as the correct form went,” says Russolino. “But I ended up exemplifying a strong leg and being able to get the job done. And then a day later, they asked me to put on the football pads and dress out for the biggest game of the season against Shaw High School, and that was the start of an awesome journey.”
That Journey took him to Millsaps College next, where he earned three all-conference kicker honors and an All-American season. It was enough to continue pushing Russolino up the ranks to the CIFL, New Orleans Voodoo, and ultimately his most recent venture in China’s CAFL league.
“It was such an incredible experience,” says Russolino. “The best part of the game for the fans, aside from scoring a touchdown, was the placekicking part. You could literally hear the crowd in awe as I kick the ball off into the net.”
In one season, Russolino made a name for himself and added to his long list of awards. He was one of eight players named to the league’s dream team and earned kicker of the year.
However, Russolino is now faced with the next challenge and what he hopes will be his greatest feat yet: making it to the NFL. Having just participated in Michael Husted’s special teams combine in front of NFL scouts in Mobile, Ala., he’s patiently waiting for his chance.
“I could get a call in 30 seconds, or I could never get one,” says a very level-headed Russolino. “You’ve just got to stay ready, stay trained and mentally prepared. And when the call does come, get out there and get the job done.”
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