A 6-3, 185-pound cornerback at Hillsboro High, Russell is definitely one of the more heavily recruited prospects in Tennessee this year. He has loads of offers, but says the Tigers are his definite leader.
"Right now, Auburn is my favorite and I will probably end up going there," he tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "Ole Miss is No. 2 right now."
A speedster who was clocked at 4.41 this past summer at a University of Florida football camp, Russell says he has offers from the Gators and other SEC schools such as Arkansas, Kentucky and Alabama. Notre Dame is one of the colleges outside the southeast region that has offered.
Chris Russell is a two-way star for the Hillsboro High Burros, a team that has been kicking the opposition throughout the 2002 season.
Russell's Hillsboro High team finished as the state runnerup to Maryville last season, a team that features Carl Stewart, who committed to Auburn earlier this fall. This year Hillsboro has another powerhouse team that has compiled a 10-0 record as it heads into the opening round of the state playoffs on Friday night vs. Whites Creek after pounding White County 62-6 to close the regular season.
This is Russell's fourth season as a starter. Auburn and other colleges are recruiting him as a defensive back. Few opponents have challenged him at the position since he put together a strong sophomore season, but he has managed to intercept three passes this year after making four picks as a junior despite missing four games due to a separated shoulder.
Russell also plays split end and has caught three touchdown passes and totalled 170 yards as a receiver this year. "We don't throw the ball too much," notes Russell, whose team runs a Delaware Wing-T offense.
When football season is finished, Russell is also a standout in basketball. He averaged 15.5 points per game as a junior and is being recruited by colleges in that sport, but not the big boys as is the case in football. "I am not sure which sport is my best," he says. "I have been a little surprised there hasn't been more interest from the basketball coaches."
Nicknamed "D-I" because of all of his Division I scholarship offers, Russell showed his toughness last year with an early return from his separated shoulder. With excellent coverage skills, a 36-inch vertical jump and a lot of football savvy, opponents avoid him like the plague. He is also doing well in the classroom and should have no problem qualifying. "I have been on the honor roll this year," notes Russell, who plans on taking an unofficial visit to see the Tigers during the Georgia at Auburn football weekend.