Losing to the War Eagles last season in five overtimes, Carrollton needed a stop on a two-point conversion to get the win and that's where Russell stepped in for his team. Getting penetration, he grabbed the runner by the foot and wouldn't let go until his teammates arrived to finish the play, securing a crazy 46-44 victory and a trip to the Georgia Dome.
"It was amazing," Russell said. "I had his leg and I just held on. I just waited for the reaction from each side. I didn't know, I just waited for the reaction."
A 6-3, 285-pounder with good quickness and athleticism, Russell is the enforcer for Carrollton's defense. He will get a chance to again show what he can do this weekend when the Trojans take on Griffin for the AAAA state championship Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in the Georgia Dome. Getting to the finals for the first time since 2010 is something Russell said he's dreamed about all season long.
"It's amazing," Russell said. "I have been wanting to get back since I was in the ninth grade. I went in the ninth grade, but didn't get to play. It's going to be great to get to play this time."
A Georgia commitment throughout his senior season, Russell made a visit to Auburn for the Iron Bowl game and saw the Tigers win on one of the greatest plays in college football history when Chris Davis returned a missed field goal 109 yards for the win. Backing off his commitment soon after his trip to Jordan-Hare Stadium, Russell is taking a long look at the Tigers and Coach Rodney Garner at the moment.
With Auburn playing Missouri in Atlanta on Saturday, Garner had the opportunity to watch Carrollton's big win over Marist from the sidelines as did Georgia assistant Chris Wilson and Charles Bankins from Vanderbilt. Even though it was an opportunity for Russell to show his skills, he said for him it was all about winning and advancing to the title game.
"I'm just here to play football," Russell said. "I'm not thinking about my recruiting when I'm out there. I'm just playing football.
"I'm not thinking about any recruitment," he added. "I'm just trying to win. This is my team. I'm focused on my team."
Take On Russell: He is an extremely athletic defensive lineman with a good first step off the ball. Athletic enough that he could probably play outside if needed, Russell looks like the perfect three-technique in Auburn's defense. As for who he reminds me of from an Auburn perspective, two players come to mind. Because of his athleticism he looks and plays like former Tigers Leonardo Carson and Sen'Derrick Marks. Neither were the imposing 6-5 defensive tackles, but both were very productive on the field.