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Trussell Is Second Raiders Player From 2018 Team to Sign Pro Contract

78---Isaiah-Trussell-1Former Racine Case and Carthage College standout Isaiah Trussell has signed a pro contract with the Salina (Kan.) Liberty of the Champions Indoor Football (CIF) league. Trussell, who played offensive line for the Raiders last season, joins wide receiver Jordan Payne in the CIF.

Trussell had an offer to play pro football in Australia last season but passed on it and chose to instead to stay home and play with the Raiders. While it may seem unbelievable that someone would turn down an opportunity to play football in Australia, Trussell had his reasons and it revolved around Liberty head coach Heron O’Neal.

“I heard Coach O’Neal had a lot of good connections and sent people to higher leagues,” states Trussell. “I thought this was a better opportunity for me if I wanted to improve and make it to a higher level of football.”

Trussell said Salina became aware of him through a camp he attended for division 3 football players held at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater as well as recent film he could provide the Salina staff from his time with the Raiders. Salina was one win away from the CIF championship game last season and Trussell’s workout apparently impressed the staff.

78---Isaiah-Trussell-1“They needed some help upfront and they believed in me and that I could fill that spot,” says Trussell. “In their offense, they’re physical and like to run the ball downhill but also pass and have quick, athletic offensive linemen, and they believe I fit that mold.”

Trussell is supplied a salary and housing by the Liberty. He says they have great coaching and a nice facility. He’s been there over a week and his days consist of practices for about 2-1/2 hours, weight room work, conditioning, and meetings. In addition, the players work the public relations angle, meeting fans and potential sponsors to help drum up support for the team.

“On the field, it’s been like any other camp,” claims Trussell. “You’re grinding and proving a point that you can play.” 

Trussell, who was a first conference All-College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin offensive lineman as a junior and senior at Carthage, said the Raiders played a big role in his step to the pro level.

“I’ve been watching the Raiders since I was a little kid,” recollects Trussell. “I never thought I’d play for them but they’ve helped me get a chance to go somewhere else and play at a higher level and continue my career in the years that I have left playing this great game of football.”

78---Isaiah-Trussell-1Trussell also credits the Raiders coaching staff for helping to prepare him to continue on his quest to play football at higher levels. He says he learned a lot about football by hanging around Raiders practices watching his high school coach, Justin Ankley, and learning from offensive line coach Dusty Svendsen last season. Trussell says Raiders head coach Wilbert Kennedy taught him some of the intangible things expected of a football player.

“I’ve known Coach Wilbert since I was maybe a sophomore in high school,” says Trussell. “He was a great mentor in how to be a professional, in every sense of the word, and also how to represent myself and my city and go on to play at a higher level.”

Trussell plans on seeing where the opportunity with the Salina Liberty takes him. He’s fortunate to be in a position where he can step away from his role as a substitute teacher and full-time seasonal employee with the park and recreation department in Racine.

Isaiah Trussell“A chance to play at the NFL level has been a dream and right now I can chase that dream for a little while,” says Trussell. “I don’t want to go out saying I didn’t try. I just want to give it what I’ve got for the little time I have and be able to say that, at the end of the day, I enjoyed playing football, I enjoyed the people I met, and I enjoyed the experience that I had, and I was able to have the opportunity to play.”

That dream started at Case High School in Racine, moved to Kenosha for four years at Carthage College and returned to Racine in one year with the Raiders organization, for which he is thankful for the opportunity.

Racine Raiders Tryout“The Raiders are a great opportunity,” says Trussell. “It’s a great organization to play for. I really appreciate what they helped me to achieve.”

Of course, a strong family backing was necessary to help Trussell follow his dreams.

“My parents and my sister always push me to strive for more and are a great support system to allow me to go off and do things like this, not worry about things at home, and focus on myself for a little while” says Trussell.

If you’re interested in an opportunity to move your football career forward like Isaiah Trussell, you should attend the Racine Raiders free tryout on Sunday, March 24, from 11 am to 1 pm at the Tarble Recreation Center on the Carthage College campus in Kenosha. Registration begins at 10:30 am. To register for the tryout, complete our player interest form. For more information on the tryout, visit our tryout news page.