I’ve got some catching up to do because the coaching staff has obviously been reading my articles and have hit the transfer portal hard over the last month. I’ll get to everyone, but the I want to talk about Russ Yeast today.
As a Recruit
Russ is of particular interest for me, because I followed his recruitment closely in 2015 (which seems like a decade ago). He’s out of Center Grove High School in Greenwood, Indiana and I desperately wanted him for Purdue.
As a recruit, Yeast was a multi-positional star for Center Grove with the potential to play on either side of the ball. He played running back as a senior and wracked up 1,525 rushing yards, and 19 touchdowns. He also caught 32 passes for 602 yards and 8 touchdowns. Throw in 400 return yards and he accounted for 2,127 all-purpose yards. He was a First Team All-State player and the USA Today and Gatorade Player Indiana Player of the Year. He signed with Louisville, which was interesting because his dad, Craig, was the all-time leader in career receptions leader in the SEC at the time, and he played for Kentucky.
His career was slow to take off. He played in nine games as a freshman and five as a sophomore. There were rumors he was looking to transfer after his sophomore season, and I thought Purdue would be in the mix again, but he decided to stick it out at Louisville, and was rewarded for his patience.
He moved from cornerback to strong safety as a junior and things started to click. He started 11 games a junior and recorded 61 tackles, picked off a pass, defended four passes and forced two fumbles for new head coach Scott Satterfield. Louisville looked like an up-and-coming ACC program after a promising 8-5 season.
Last season, things fell apart at Louisville after high preseason expectations. They went 3-7 and Yeast’s production dipped. He finished the season with 45 tackles, an interception, three passes defended, and a forced fumble. The entire vibe of the 2020 team seemed off and was punctuated by Satterfield’s assertion that (paraphrasing) players need to be completely invested in a program but coaches need to look out for themselves.
For Kansas State
The Wildcats have assembled an impressive secondary over the last two months. They managed to hold onto Jahron McPherson for an additional year, snagged Russ Yeast for a year at strong safety, and added Iowa transfer Julius Brents at corner (more on him later) yesterday.
Yeast is a one-year stop gap solution at strong safety, and gives younger options on the roster a chance to develop without having to start. McPherson and Yeast give the Wildcats two talented, experienced players for the back end of the defense. I don’t see any better safety duos in the Big 12. In fact, a starting secondary of Gardner, Boye-Doe, McPherson and Yeast give K-State one of the better secondaries in the conference for the 2021 season.
Expect Yeast to play around the line of scrimmage. He has the ability to cover receivers man-to-man if DC Joe Klanderman wants to send pressure, and should help keep teams from getting the edge in the run game. His versatility should allow the K-State to play different coverage schemes next season after keeping it basic in 2020 because of a revolving door at safety.
This is exactly how the coaching staff should use the transfer portal. Great pick up.