A longtime Georgia commitment before backing off that following a trip to Jordan-Hare Stadium for the Auburn-Georgia game in November, the 6-2, 285 Russell adds another very important piece of the puzzle for Gus Malzahn, defensive line coach Rodney Garner and the rest of the Auburn defensive coaching staff.
The No. 10 ranked defensive tackle in the country, according to Scout.com, Russell is a dynamic player up front who has the ability to rush the passer as a three-technique on the next level. Athletic enough to play tight end on offense and also line up outside at defensive end at times for the Trojans, Russell should be another weapon for Garner and the Tigers down the road on the defensive line.
Russell becomes the third defensive tackle commitment for the Tigers in this year's class, joining junior college standouts Dalvon Stuckey and Devaroe Lawrence. He had offers from schools all over the country including Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, South Carolina, USC and Vanderbilt.
Scout.com recruiting analyst Chad Simmons has seen plenty from Russell the last two years and says Auburn is getting a difference-maker in the big defensive lineman.
"I think Russell emerged on the scene as a legit SEC-type prospect about a year and a half ago," Simmons says. "He had a very good junior season. He played a lot of three-technique as a junior and then moved inside and played a lot of noseguard, mostly nose as a senior.
"He faced constant double and some triple-teams," Simmons points out. "He didn't make as many plays on the surface, but he affected the game still in a big way.
"He's a kid who people might expect to get a sack or two a game, but that's not going to happen going against a double-team. He constantly helps collapse the pocket and forces the ball the other way. He hurries the quarterback. He really changes the whole presence of a defensive line.
"He is a kid who can play the three (tackle) or shade (nose) on the next level," Simmons adds. "He is a very strong young man and comes from a great high school program. He's well-coached and developed. I think he's a kid that can push for playing time as a true freshman at Auburn."