'63 squad completed undefeated season as 14th ranked team in nation
Russell Vollmer is considered by many to be one of the top quarterbacks to ever play for the Memphis Tigers. A native of Memphis, Vollmer played his prep football at Central High School before signing with former head coach Billy J. Murphy. He was pressed into service as a quarterback during his freshman season playing behind the injured James Earl Wright.
In 1961, Vollmer again supported Wright but also saw playing time as a kick returner. He averaged 28.0 yards per punt return, threw for 433 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 160 yards in helping the Tigers to a 8-2 record. As a junior, Vollmer took over the team leadership role and finished the season as the team's top passer, rusher and punter. His 88-yard punt return for a touchdown against Ole Miss was the longest return of the season for the Tigers. He finished the season ranked ninth in the nation in punt returns averaging over 20 yards per return and 12th in the nation in scoring with 72 points. Vollmer threw for 555 yards and six touchdowns in 1962 and rushed for 289 yards on 75 attempts.
It was during his senior campaign that Vollmer became a legend. He rushed for 370 yards, passed for 466 yards and averaged 32.3 yards per kickoff return in leading his team to an undefeated season, 9-0-1. For his play during the `63 campaign, Vollmer received All-America honors from the Associated Press; United Press International, N.E.A. and the Detroit Sports Extra. He was named the Associated Press National Player of the Week for his performance against Mississippi State in 1963.
Upon completing his career at Memphis with an overall record of 33-5-1, Vollmer held seven records including career kickoff return yards with 900. He entered the advertising business in Memphis after his playing career and still resides in the city.