A four-star prospect that will challenge a veteran defensive line group for playing time this fall, Russell said first and foremost he's working hard to make sure he's in shape when Auburn hits the practice field for the first time.
"It has been great since I signed," the 6-3, 287 Russell tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "I have just been doing some of the workouts they sent me and doing some running with the other guys that signed at my school. Basically I'm just waiting for graduation to get here."
Expected to be on campus May 26 along with a large group of his fellow signees, Russell said the summer workouts will be very important for the guys because it gives them a chance to get their feet wet both in football life and in the classroom.
"I'm real excited," Russell said. "I'm not sure what the fall is going to look like for me. I'm just trying to get down there and contribute as much as I can this year.
"My main goal now is just to get on campus and get used to campus life," he added. "I want to try to make it on the field as soon as possible. Whether it's early or late I'm just going to try to make it as early as I can."
Russell is working to play as a freshman
One of the main reasons Russell chose Auburn after earlier committing to the Georgia Bulldogs was because of his relationship and his respect for the Tigers' defensive line coach Rodney Garner. A coach that has now put six defensive linemen in the first round during his time coaching at Georgia and now back with Auburn, Garner gets results and Russell said that has him ready to take his turn.
"I had heard about him even before he started recruiting me," Russell said. "I'm just looking forward to the opportunity to be able to play for somebody like him that's a well-known coach."
Entering this summer trying to break into a lineup featuring returning defensive tackles Gabe Wright, Ben Bradley, Angelo Blackson and Jeffrey Whitaker and also with fellow signees Devaroe Lawrence and possibly Davonte Lambert getting a look inside it's going to take some serious work for Russell to break through.
Even though the odds may be stacked against him to break through Russell can take solace in the fact that Garner isn't afraid to play a freshman if he proves worthy of getting on the field. That showed last season when Carl Lawson, Montravius Adams and Elijah Daniel all played significant roles for the Tigers. Russell said his goal is to make his own impact in 2014 and that road begins soon.
"My focus this summer is just to get stronger," Russell said. "I'm just going to work with the guys and compete as if I had the opportunity. I feel like it will be beneficial in some areas. I'll try to pattern myself after what they do. I feel like that will help a lot."