He's practicing on the field where it all started.
Almost six years ago, Tyler Russell guided Meridian High School to a state championship over national power South Panola. Now he's using Ray Stadium to rebuild himself and pursue his dream of playing in the NFL.
"The biggest thing is just having guys like Will just come out here, and he does a good job of making me run," said Russell.
Will Fuchs, a long time friend of the NFL hopeful, runs routes him in Ray Stadium.
"This is where it all started for him and all those guys that were on that [‘08] championship team,” said Fuchs. “So getting out here and running routes on the field, for him, I'm sure just takes him right back there, and he looks great."
Though he had a decorated career at Mississippi State, Russell has not fully recovered from the torn labrum he suffered in his second to last game as a bulldog.
"You know, something happened, and the guy came through, and I fell on my shoulder and dislocated it," said Russell of the injury, which occurred late in the Arkansas game.
After going through surgery with nationally-known Dr. James Andrews, Russell couldn't get healthy in time for Mississippi State's pro day, so he set his own pro day on April 24th in Starkville.
"Only three teams showed up, but I did really well, and I started getting a lot of phone calls from different scouts,” said Russell. “So from that, I was getting excited… people were still interested in me."
As expected, he didn't get drafted, but then the phone started ringing.
"The chargers quarterback coach called me and said, 'Hey, I want you to come up and throw right before mini-camp, and we'll sign you as a free agent.’"
But after talking with his agent Demond Kauffman, Russell decided not to accept the offer in fear that practicing would set back his recovery. It was not an easy decision to make.
"I mean, you had the Saints, the Colts, the Chargers, the Dolphins and the Bengals all call wanting to sign me as a free agent."
But this NFL hopeful’s mind is made up.
Russell will only go to an NFL camp if he's 100 percent healthy in hopes he can really show coaches what he's made of.