Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

Grenada linebacker J.J. Russell has picked up several early offers with designs on more.

Grenada linebacker J.J. Russell has burst on to the recruiting scene. As a relative unknown early in the process, Russell attended junior day at Mississippi State. Since that time nearly a dozen schools have shown varying levels of interest with several extended scholarship offers.

Cal, Cincinnati, Kansas, Memphis and Southern Miss have all jumped out early and made J.J. Russell feel like a priority to them.

"Kansas is my most recent offer," Russell said. "All of this is sort of unexpected for me. I have been working hard, but I am surprised that all of this is happening so fast. It's a real blessing for me. I am hearing from a lot of other schools too like Alabama, Tennessee, Notre Dame and a few others too."

Russell's only junior day event so far has been Mississippi State. Russel is on the Bulldog recruiting radar, but so far Coach Dan Mullen and his staff have not extended an offer.

"I haven't heard much from Mississippi State since the junior day, but I enjoyed the visit," Russell said. "I got to meet Coach (Peter) Sirmon and he seems pretty cool. He seems like a good coach. I am not sure if they are going to offer me or not."

While several schools have thrown their hats into the ring, the process of projecting a position is still on going.

"I just know that everybody wants me to play linebacker," Russell said. "I could play inside or outside. I have been playing a lot of north and south like a 'mike', but I can run too. I can cover and I think on the next level I will probably be an outside linebacker. I just want to play where I fit the defense best. I feel like I can play whatever they need me to play."

Russell recorded 83 tackles and five sacks a season ago. With his best football ahead of him, the rising senior is enjoying the recruiting process.

"I am not sure when I am going to decide, but it will probably be after the season," Russell said. "Everything is happening so fast right now that I just want to take my time with everything. Mississippi State is the only junior day I have been to so far, so I want to see some other schools. I didn't go to Ole Miss' junior day, but I am heading over to Alabama this weekend for their junior day."

The personable Russell explains that he wants to take his time and get to know all facets of the programs recruiting him. The talented linebacker is looking for a well-rounded experience that emphasizes both athletics and academics.

Look for the productive linebacker to be a real hit this summer on the camp circuit. Russell plans to attend as many camps as he can get to in an effort to get his skills in front of college coaches as often as possible.

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