Airline DB heading for big finish

Not many freshmen get to start on their varsity team in high school but Bossier City-Airline free safety Tracey Russell (6-1, 190, 4.4) earned that distinction.<br><br>Now he hopes he can get as much playing time when he is a freshman in college. But the big question is where will he go in 2004?

"I've got offers from Northwestern State, West Virginia, Tulane, Ole Miss and Colorado," Russell told Tiger Rag. "My top schools are LSU, La. Tech, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, West Virginia and Colorado."

Even though LSU head coach Nick Saban has not decided to give him a scholarship offer yet, the Tigers are still the team to beat.

"I talked to coach Saban a couple of times and I think he'll offer," Russell said. "I always wanted to go to LSU, but I can't turn down the other schools if LSU doesn't offer. But my heart is with LSU."

The honors Russell has picked up since his prep career began might be unmatched by any other safety prospect in the Bayou State.

He has picked up All-Bossier Parish, All-City and All-District honors during his high school career, and Russell should garner more awards before he leaves Airline if his senior year is anything like the first three.

Russell is known as a heavy hitter with great speed, and he lived up to that billing as a junior with 92 tackles and seven interceptions. He has already attended Louisiana Tech's camp and he will be leaving Sunday to travel to Baton Rouge for Saban's three-day camp.

Russell has two more stops scheduled for this summer, with Ole Miss and Colorado getting the honors. It sounds like a busy summer ahead for Russell but he is looking forward to it.

"I want to learn the college drills," he said. "Going to these camps will make college an easier transition, so I just want to learn as much as I can now."

Russell is scheduled to take the ACT on June 14 and he sports a 3.0 GPA. He said he does not foresee any problems with qualifying academically, so the big question he has is will Saban come with an offer.

If Saban's past patterns are an indication of the future, a scholarship for Russell could be coming next week. Most prospects on the bubble usually have an offer extended following a strong camp showing at Saban's camps, and this might unfold for Russell in a few days when the LSU staff gets him down to the Capitol City.

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