Backup quarterback Jacob Russell has left the football team to join the baseball team, a UK spokesman confirmed on Thursday.
Russell, who played football, basketball and baseball in high school, redshirted last year after transferring from Eastern Kentucky before spring practice in 2011 to walk-on with the Wildcats. He'll walk on to the baseball team for the 2013 season.
He became the Wildcats' No. 2 quarterback for spring practice this year. With senior Morgan Newton unable to throw while recovering from a shoulder injury, Russell stepped in and worked with the second string while Maxwell Smith took snaps with the starters. Russell capped his spring with a 54-yard touchdown run in the Blue/White Game. He completed 8-24 passes in the scrimmage, throwing for 96 yards with one touchdown.
Russell would have been eligible to play this fall, but was expected to fill a backup role. He likely would have fallen behind Smith, Newton and incoming freshman Patrick Towles. Dual-threat freshman QB Jalen Whitlow could get some snaps as well.
Russell is expected to play first base or the outfield for the baseball team. He'll be eligible to play this coming season as a redshirt sophomore.
He played in seven games as a true freshman at EKU in 2010, throwing for 125 yards in limited action.
Russell was a versatile athlete while in high school at Anderson County. He received all-state honors in all three sports he played. He played first base and pitched for the baseball team and finished high school as the team's all-time leading scorer.
The news was first reported by WTVQ in Lexington, the local ABC affiliate.