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Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Taylor Russolino, K, Millsaps College

taylorDraft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Taylor Russolino, K, Millsaps College

How many teams were recruiting you out of high school? 

Out of high school only about 2 or 3 small Division III schools. I only kicked 1 field goal in high school because I joined the team as an emergency kicker the night before the 3rd game of the season (my senior year). I had talked to a few bigger schools in regards to walking on, but I knew it would be extremely tough having basically no experience at the high school level. In high school I was focusing on soccer but soon was persuaded to try football at the next level. 

Where did you choose and why? 

Millsaps College. It was an up and coming powerhouse at the D3 level. Playing under former Alabama great Mike Dubose was an amazing experience. Also, a fantastic academic institution. Millsaps also gave me the chance to compete for a starting job as a true freshman. After winning the job, I maintained the starting role for the next 4 years. 

What were your goals for your senior year?

TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP and to become an All-American. Also, to show that as a kicker/punter at the D3 level I had what it took to kick with the big boys. 

Have any scouts met with you, and if so what are they saying?

No personal meetings yet with NFL teams. I have spoken to a few scouts both in the NFL and the CFL. Told me I 100% have what it takes and to just need to be patient and keep working. Coming from a small school makes it tough, but it motivates me to work even harder to make sure I get a fair chance at competing for a job.  

At your position, what separates you from the others?

My work ethic, dedication to my kraft and fitness, my leg strength, my motivation, my persistence to never give up until I get my fair shot, and my mental toughness. Also, my versatility. I can perform all 3 aspects of the kicking game at an NFL level. 

Tell us what you look for when breaking down film?

As a kicker, I look at foot positioning, ball to foot contact, consistency of steps and leg swing, and I also watch the best guys in the business to see what it is I can emulate so I can make myself a better kicker/punter. 

Who was the toughest player you have ever faced?

Odd question for a kicking specialist. May need to think more about this one. 

If you could compare your play to one person in the NFL who would it be?

Robbie Gould. Robbie is a phenomenal kicker who has proven his consistency and ability to kick in any conditions. Also, our styles are similar. Myself and Robbie are both 2 step kickers. Being a 2 step kicker increases get off times and consistency in your leg swing. I am always watching film on him to help myself get better. 

What was the biggest obstacle in your life you had to overcome, and how did you overcome it?

Facing one of mother natures biggest beast, Hurricane Katrina. After being relocated during my junior year of high school, due to the aftermath of the massive storm, I continued to keep a positive mindset. Patience was the biggest thing. Without the support of my family and friends, there is absolutely no way I would have made it where I have today! 

What system fits your style of play the best?

A team with an explosive offense and knows how to constantly find the endzone. I would love to kick 10 extra points a game. That means my team is putting up points and setting us up to win the game. 

What is your biggest strength?

My biggest strength is my work ethic. My work ethic is the reason why I have been successful at what I do. There isn’t a single kicker out there who is more motivated, dedicated, and persistent as I am. 

What is your biggest weakness?

I’m not sure what my biggest weakness may be, but I do know there is always, and will always be, room for improvement in my game. Each day I strive to better myself both on and off of the field.

If I were a GM and gave you a second to sell yourself, what would you say?

“Just give me the chance, and I promise you won’t regret it” 

Growing up, who was your role model?

Growing up my biggest role models were my parents. Without there support, I wouldn’t be where I am today. There is no way possible to thank them for all they have done! I truly am blessed! 

Who was your favorite team and player in the NFL and why?

The New Orleans Saints. I was born and raised in New Orleans, therefore I am born a Saints fan. The passion of this city and its team is extraordinary. John Carney was my favorite player. Not only did he personally play a role in my decision to pursue football in college, but he was such a great kicker whom I try to emulate in any way possible. His talent and career speak volume in so many ways! Would love to one day be as successful as he was! 

If you were to have dinner with three people dead or alive who would it be?

Michael Jordan, Jose Mourinho, George Washington

With your first paycheck what would you buy?

I would first pay off my student loans. Aside from that, Im not really sure. I’ll worry about that when it gets here. 

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at nfldraftdiamonds@gmail.com

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