Russell, a 6-foot-1, 263-pounder, still considers himself a UNC commitment.
Originally, Russell verbally committed to UNC back in July '10. When he failed to qualify out of Raeford (N.C.) Hoke County, he decided to prep at Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy.
Russell was set up with East Mississippi, the same JuCo that former UNC signee Albert Craddock enrolled at, by Hargrave's head football coach, Troy Davis.
"Coach Davis, he got up with [East Mississippi assistant coach] Coach [William] Jones from up here and put everything together," Russell said.
Russell is already taking classes at East Mississippi, but won't begin team workouts until after Signing Day. By that point, he will know if he's qualified or not.
"I'm a long way from home," Russell said. "But other than that, it's alright up here."
Besides UNC, while at Hargrave Russell was recruited by East Carolina, Georgia, and NC State.
Russell hasn't discussed positions with East Mississippi's coaches, but he expects to play linebacker.
"I know the competition is going to be much better than when I was at Hargrave," Russell said. "But I like playing high level of football anyway. So I don't think it will be a problem. I'm just going to come in and work hard."