Baseball: Prado signs a legacy
USF baseball coach Lelo Prado didn't have to sell his newest signee's dad on the merits of his program and philosophy.
Paul Russo had been sold a quarter-century ago.
Russo's son, Tampa Catholic SS Paul "Paulie" Russo II, has signed with USF, formally becoming a second-generation Prado pupil. Paul (1B/3B/C) and his brother Pat (closer) played for Prado at the University of Tampa from 1987-90.
The younger Russo, who hit .305 as a junior and recorded an .885 fielding percentage for TC, also was recruited by UT, Alabama and Vanderbilt. The decision to stay at home was his.
The delight was shared by his family.
"I know (Prado) is a no-nonsense guy," the elder Paul Russo said.
"He will demand the best from you and he will work you to get the best out of you. As well as having the demanding pride, he has a nurturing side to him also. He can sit and talk to you, explain stuff to you."
Russo (5-foot-10, 165 pounds) joins what projects as a Bulls signing class of more than a half-dozen. The school hasn't formally released its list of signees, but several other local standouts already have publicly signed also. One or two more are expected.
USF baseball signees, Class of '14
OF/1B Ricky Caldevilla, Jesuit
P Joe Cavallaro, Sarasota
OF Jacob McFadden, Osceola
SS/OF Kevin Merrell, Steinbrenner*
LHP Jonah Owenby, Fort Myers Bishop Verot
SS Paul Russo, Tampa Catholic
*-Expected to sign next Wednesday