Only a small percentage of high school football players find themselves pursued by blue-blood college programs such as Alabama and Auburn.

Even fewer are in a position to politely decline those offers.

Earlier this week, Center Grove receiver Russ Yeast verbally committed to the University of Louisville, where his speed, instincts and range will be utilized in the Cardinals’ defensive secondary.

Yeast, the son of former University of Kentucky receiver and current Franklin College offensive coordinator Craig Yeast, chose Louisville over the others in his top five — Alabama, Auburn, Iowa and Missouri.

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“I’ve been paying attention to (Louisville) for a long time now,” Yeast said. “I sat down, took a lot of time, talked to my family and put prayer into it. You have to look at the best fit for you, and you’re not chasing names in this process.

“It’s what’s going to make you a better person on and off the field.”

Yeast began attending Center Grove last February after his father began his new job with the Grizzlies’ football staff.

Russ Yeast previously played at Fremont (Ohio) Ross High School, where Craig was the Little Giants’ head coach during the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

Russ Yeast had originally verbally committed to play at Kentucky — where his father established numerous career and single-season receiving standards from 1994 to 1998 — but he elected to reopen his recruitment in June.

Yeast’s 1,320 all-purpose yards have been critical to the Trojans’ success on offense this season. The defending Class 6A state champions are 8-1 and ranked No. 3 entering tonight’s sectional game at home against Jeffersonville.

Even though Yeast is projected as a cornerback at the next level, Center Grove coach Eric Moore needed his athleticism more on the other side of line of scrimmage.

“At the beginning of the year, it was sort of a struggle on how to use this new player with such great athletic talent,” Moore said. “I know he can be a shutdown defensive guy, but if you’re not scoring points it doesn’t help the defense,” Moore said.

“On offense, he’s a game-changer, a playmaker. He can move the chains and get the big first down. Russ has made every adjustment and is a smart player, a very intense player.”

Yeast leads the Trojans in rushing, receiving and scoring. He needs 36 rushing yards tonight against the Red Devils to reach 1,000 for the season.

By the numbers

Here are Russ Yeast’s statistics in his one season as a Center Grove football player:


Att.: 125

Yards: 964

TD: 10


Receptions: 19

Yards: 356

TD: 5

Special Teams

Kickoff return avg.: 18.9 yards

Punt return avg.: 20.1 yards

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Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at