Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

Mississippi State verbal impresses in return to campus.

Mississippi State picked up one of Mississippi's top linebackers, J.J. Russell of Grenada during the June camp sessions. Russell was back on campus this past Friday as part of the Bulldogs' Big Camp. Needless to say, this time was a bit different for Russell who took the field as a Mississippi State pledge for the first time.

"It went great and I got a lot of good work in," Russell shared. "I just love it here. Hard work and dedication is what they believe here and that's what I was looking for."

Russell reports that he felt a lot more at ease during the Big Dawg camp knowing he was no longer auditoning for an offer. This time he was simply gaining instruction from his future coaches.

"It feels like home now," Russell said. "I know the coaches a little bit better now. I can relate to them a lot better and that helps me relax. Now, I can just do what I do best and that's play football."

One of the drawing cards for Mississippi State was the chance to play for Coach Peter Sirmon, an NFL veteran. Russell reports that he enjoyed his time with Sirmon during Big Dawg.

"It's always fun being around him," Russell said of Sirmon. "I was a little more comfortable this time. Last time I was a little nervous, but I feel like this time it was just me. I had a great time out here.

"Coach Sirmon worked with me a lot on route recongition. He told me that you can tell a lot about the route the running back is going to run based on where he is aligned. He talked with me about that and a few other techniques. It was great."

With what should be the final high school prospect camp of his young life under his belt, Russell is ready to focus on Grenada High School football. "I am ready to get started again," Russell said. "I am looking forward to the season and we are going to go out and do all we can to win the state championship."

Russell pledged his college allegiance to Mississippi State following a strong showing in the June camp sessions. The talented linebacker picked the Bulldogs over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Kansas, Louisville, Memphis, Missouri, South Alabama, Southern Miss and Tulane among others.

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