Introducing the 2004 Class: Brent Russum

We all hear about football players re-shaping their bodies to get leaner or heavier. Nonetheless, even a successful transformation usually doesn't span more than a few months and 10-20 pounds. Brent Russum undoubtedly broke the mold when he gained 75 pounds in a span of eight months or so. The Lewiston, Idaho native talked about his "Russum diet", as well as the reasons that landed him in Tempe.

It was only a couple years ago, when Brent Russum was far more accomplished as a basektball player. He was one of the state's best, and his AAU team participated in prominent summer tournaments such as the Adidas Big Time in Las Vegas and the Best of Summer League in Los Angeles. "Going into my junior year my offensive coordinator Coach Menegas told me that he thought my future was in football. He had a plan for me to eat certain foods and lift weights. I was athletic with a big frame (Russum was even a member of the varsity Tennis team for one year), and he said that we'd use all that to make me a lineman."

The ensuing months were nothing short of an indulgence in food exercise. Russum laid out his menu during that time frame. "I'd wake up before zero hour and have six eggs, potatoes, milks, and a protein shake…after zero hour I would eat a protein bar…after second hour I'd eat a roast beef sandwich, a cheesecake, and some pudding…lunch hour I was at McDonald's eating a couple of quarter pounders and fries…at the sixth hour I would have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I'd come home and eat dinner…I was eating like 6,000 or 7,000 calories a day."

Ultimately the PrepStar Magazine postseason all-region selection saw the results that he expected to see. "My bench press went up 100 pounds, and my squat went up 150 pounds," he said. "I trusted Coach Menegas' plan. He coached linemen that went to the NFL later on, so he knew what he was doing. It's not like I just got fat, I did put on a lot muscle." The Sun Devil freshman to-be, who is academically qualified, said that when he arrives in Tempe today for the bridge program and summer workouts, he will weigh 285 lbs, which is ten pounds heavier than his weight during his official visit in January.

Giving up a sport he excelled in (basketball), in favor of football proved to be less of a difficult decision than Russum may have anticipated. "I was 6-4, I was skinny, and jumping all around the place (smile)," he recalled. "But it's like Coach Koetter said, there aren't too many 6-4 white forwards that make into the NBA (smile). Coach Menegas told me football was the way to go and I believed him. I think it worked out great."

The transformation from one sport to another also required a more aggressive approach in promoting himself and getting the word out about his abilities. Soon after he sent out his tape, the Sun Devils along with many Pac-10 foes came calling. "I sent out my tape to every Pac-10 school," said the offensive lineman, "and they started responding. I never met an ASU coach in person before my official visit, but I did talk to Coach Grimes a few times on the phone before I came down. I did actually meet him briefly during the official visit, and a couple of weeks after I went to ASU he came over to my house and we played pool and bowling." It was immediately following that visit that he committed to the Sun Devils. He added that he also did visit Oregon, Oregon State, and Washington. "I scheduled one for Cal, but I canceled after the Arizona State one."

Russum admitted that ASU did enter the recruiting sweepstakes late in the process, but the combination of his official visit and the NFL tradition at his position, became crucial focal points in his decision. "I was real interested in Oregon during my senior season," he remarked. "But after the season was over Arizona State came in strong, and in the end I liked what they had to offer. I had a great visit with my host Stephen Berg. The weight room was impressive, and Tempe has good weather to play football. My best time on the visit was probably a dinner in Scottsdale. I had like four racks of ribs. We ate out the house (smile)."

"ASU had less linemen (than Oregon)," Russum continued. "So that's a better situation for me. I really got along with all the offensive linemen. In my gut I just felt that these are the people I want to hang out with…ASU does a lot blocking schemes on the offensive line, and use different techniques. NFL scouts look at diversity, and I think ASU can offer that to me. They have a history of getting a lot of lineman into the pros, and that was appealing to me too." Additionally, the Sun Devil freshman to-be mentions that the fact that head coach Dirk Koetter is from Idaho definitely didn't hurt his decision to don the maroon and gold.

As a senior he had over 40 ‘pancake' blocks. Nevertheless, he feels that some types of blocking are areas he should improve on. "I like to run block," he explained. "But I don't think that I'm the best down-hill run blocker. My specialty is pulling and getting on linebackers and defensive backs."

By his own admission, Brent Russum said that the heaviest defensive lineman he faced in high school was maybe 240 lbs. "Even Coach Koetter, who's from Idaho, talked about my level of competition not being high," stated Russum. "So I guess we'll see if I was a big fish in a small pound. I don't think I'll be shocked by college football anymore than any other freshman coming out of high school. I've been to the camps in Oregon and Washington, and I more than held my own there. If I'm behind, I don't think I'm that behind at all."

Recruit Profile

Name

Brent Russum

High School

Lewiston High School (Lewiston, Idaho)

Position

OL

Height

6-5

Weight

285

Date of Birth

8/21/85

Birthplace

Lewiston, Idaho

Nickname

"B/Russ"

Favorite TV Show

"The Simpsons."

Favorite Movie

"Boyz N the Hood."

Favorite Singer/Band

"Metallica."

Favorite Food

"Ice Cream."

Favorite Drink

"Milk."

Favorite Athlete

"Tom Kite."

Favorite Pro Team

"Buffalo Bills."

Person you most admire

"Coach Menegas, my offensive coordinator. He showed me the path to what I am today, and helped me achieve my goals."

First Football Memory

"Playing quarterback in the 5th grade."

One Thing most people don't know about me

"I have seven fingers. In eighth grade I had an injury and three of my fingers tips were cut off. That's why I don't play quarterback anymore (smile)."

Why did you choose ASU?

"I felt personable with the coaching staff, and I connected with the school itself."

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"If not the NFL, I hope to be an Athletic Director of a big school."

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