Marcus Russell committed to the Huskies over the weekend. The 20-year old forward has taken a relatively common path to Michigan Tech. He developed over the last one and a half seasons in the NAHL and, around the same time that he made the move to the USHL, the Huskies got him to join the fold.
Russell is just the latest is a relatively long line of players to commit very close to their transition from Tier II to Tier I junior hockey joining Chris Leibinger and Mark Auk as was discussed in the latest edition of Recruiting Grounds. The Traverse City, Mich. native is the son of former Michigan State standout Kerry Russell who was part of three CCHA championships with the Spartans. His younger brother, Jon, is also expected to start college hockey next year with Harvard.
The 5'10" forward played two seasons with Detroit Honeybaked's U18 program including the 2013-14 season as captain. During his second season he improved his scoring from just over a half point per game to 0.722. While his goal total decreased, he became more of a playmaker by increasing his assists. In fall of 2014, he made the trek to British Columbia and split one season between Salmon Arm (where he played with Angus Redmond) and Alberni Valley. His time with the Silverbacks didn't last long as he was traded to Alberni Valley after only 8 games where he scored just one goal. While with the Bulldogs, he managed only 12 points, but 8 of his points were goals.
Russell then moved back to the states and has been with the Topeka Roadrunners (NAHL) since the start of the 2015-16 season, and matched his point total from last season (28) in half as many games. Over his 84 games in the NAHL, Russell has scored 30 goals, including 12 so far this season. Surprisingly, despite being tied for the team lead in goals, none of those 12 tallies came on the power play. When Russell left Topeka, he was also the team's point leader and in the top twenty in the NAHL in goals.
Russell's move to the Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL) happened so recently that when photos were requested from their Media Relations staff could only round up three pictures (including our feature image). He's now played in four games with no points but he hasn't been afraid of his opportunity taking at least one shot in each game thus far.
Russell has a left-handed shot and plays center, and the Lumberjacks were unable to provide exact numbers but have indicated that he was brought on to improve their struggling faceoff numbers. Based on his age, Russell will head to Houghton next season and likely complete the 2017-18 recruiting class. The recruiting grid has been updated to reflect Russell and all the other recent recruits.
Feature image courtesy of the Jennifer Rollenhagen.