Ohio OLB Hearing From Duke

Recruiting the midwest is never easy for a school on the east coast. However, the Blue Devils have been selective in their various endeavors into places like Ohio. That holds true in 2011 as well as Duke has only a few targets from that area. One is Cincinnati (Ohio) Falls Lake OLB Ben Russell.

"Coach Luke spoke to me on the phone recently and seems like a really great guy," said Ben Russell. "We mainly had a chance to talk about how much Duke likes me and how it would be really good for me to come down and see the campus. We also talked a little bit about Lucas Patrick. Lucas and I became pretty good friends throughout the combines."

Russell, who measures out at 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, projects as an outside linebacker at the collegiate level. So far he has taken visits to Cincinnati, Indiana, Pittsburgh, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Akron, Toledo, Ball State, and Bowling Green. Each school has, of course, altered their recruiting pitch slightly to fit their strengths. As has Duke.

"They have told me they are on the rise and are getting better and better each year. Of course the key with Duke is going to be academics. They are one of the best schools in the nation. I know that if I graduated from there I would be both honored and set for life."

Early on Russell is reporting offers from Akron, Ball State, Buffalo, Kent State, and Minnesota. Duke has indicated a visit to camp will likely result in an offer as well, and according to Russell there are no leaders in this race.

"None of the schools stand out over the others. They are all great options, but I need to get more in-depth with each school."

Speaking of looking deeper into things, Russell admits he has been forced to adopt a professional approach toward recruiting.

"Getting recruited these days is crazy. Schools come and go as they please and when they stop by they all tell you to come and visit. It's pretty much like being at a job interview. You have to be aware of how you are representing yourself. The key is to sit down and discuss the schools you know you are definitely not attending."

In order to avoid such a discussion, schools will need to measure up in a few certain areas.

"I want a college that has good coaches who have a real bond with their players. I would like the facilities to be very nice as well. As far as the campus goes, I would like to get a vibe like it's my home and know this is the right place for me."

On the field Russell says his best attributes are "tackling, pursuit, never giving up, being a leader, and attacking the ball and pounding the ball carrier. My weakness is my pass coverage. I would like to be a little more better on that but my man coverage is very good."

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