Top Georgia RB Has Duke In Top Two

For Duke's turnaround to continue, the Blue Devil coaching staff must continue to identify and work on the top talent in prep ranks. One example of this is 6-foot-0, 205 pound running back Anderson Russell, who has been hearing from Duke for the longest time. <I>TDD</I> caught up with Russell to get his thoughts on his recruitment to date.

"Right now I'd have to say my top two are Ohio State, and Duke," said Atlanta Marist School (GA) standout Anderson Russell. "Both have offered me a scholarship, and I've also got offers from Furhman, and Middle Tennessee State."

The Buckeyes entered the picture two weeks ago by offering Russell the chance to come in and compete for a spot in their secondary as a safety despite him playing on the offensive side of the ball. It's a challenge he's open to, but isn't completely sold on.

"I don't really care about playing defense in college. Until this year I had never really played on that side of the ball and I have a lot of fun there. However, Duke told me they want me to come in and be a running back, and I have to admit that it's a lot more fun breaking a long touchdown run than it is to come up with a big hit or interception."

The allure of playing in a big time conference also sets the Devils and Buckeyes apart from other programs.

"Playing in a BCS conference is something to think hard about as well. I mean you get to travel, and be on television and play the best each week. That's hard to turn down."

Speculation that Ohio State has surged ahead in the recruitment recently isn't shot down quickly, as Russell admits the tradition in Columbus is something that is appealing.

"They are one of the best programs around, and I liked their coaching staff a lot. I've talked to Coach Tucker mainly, and he's doing a good job recruiting me."

While the Blue Devils aren't in the same league traditionally, they do offer their own unique blend of appeal for Russell.

"They were my first offer back in December and my cousin, Chris Davis went there last year. They've got incredible facilities, but this year they just haven't been able to put it all together. I visited for the game against Maryland and at halftime they were right there, but then they just fell apart in the second half. The coaches are great and they'll get it turned around, but it's just taking longer than they'd like."

As a junior Russell rushed for 573 yards and 11 touchdowns on only 100 attempts in an option offense for Marist. That performance earned him a big fan in the coaching office.

"Anderson is a punishing running back," said Head Coach Alan Chadwick. "He's big and strong with good potential. Anderson combines good quickness with 4.4 speed."

He's nearly as good in the classroom where he's sporting a 3.1 grade point average and has already earned an 1130 on the SAT, which qualifies him for competition at the Division One level. Business management is the pick for a major at this point.

"I'd like to eventually get into some kind of real estate development deal, so a good business program and a strong degree is very important to me."

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