Brandon Russell is a multi-talented athlete. Last season he started as a true freshman in the UNC backfield. He led all rushers with 508 yards. He ran for almost 100 yards against NC State.
That is not the end of his talents, he also is a valued member of the UNC baseball team.
He also caught 11 passes for 71 yards for the Tar Heels last season from the tail back position. During the 2001 UNC football season, he will be a full-time pass catcher.
How is he taking to the change? Brandon Russell shared the following with Inside Carolina's J.B. Cissell:
I noticed you took a group photo with the wide receivers yesterday, and you played some at that position this morning.
"It was something that [the coaches] mentioned to me over the summer. Coach Bunting asked me to move to receiver, and he said that it would be the best thing to do for the team. If they think that's what is best for the team, I want to help out.
"I like it. I guess you don't get as banged up as at running back, so that is a positive. It's different because I've always played running back, but I like it, none the less. I want to get out there and play, whether it's at running back, receiver, or whatever. I just want to play."
You want to help the team, but are you disappointed?
"I wasn't disappointed at all. I don't know [the position] as well, yet, but I can learn it. Once I start feeling comfortable with it, I'll be fine out there. I believe in myself being able to catch the ball. I just have to learn the routes and the schemes. Once I learn that, I'll be more comfortable."
Your body type seems to fit into this position better.
(Laughing) "Yes, that what everybody says, so whatever. I think that's what they were thinking, too. They didn't tell me that, but I think that may have been part of it too. If I can do that to help the team, that's what I'll do."
Do you think your absence from spring ball played a part in this move?
"I'm sure it did in some ways, but that's hard for me to say. I can't make that call."
How much pass receiving did you do in high school?
"We ran a wishbone offense at my high school, and most times I was running the ball. Sometimes they put me in the slot and threw passes to me, so it's not something that I'm completely new to. I've done it before, but not full-time like now."
You looked comfortable this morning at wide receiver.
(Laughing) "I guess I've got a long way to go. I'm not to the point of reacting. I'm still thinking a lot out there, and I've still got a lot to learn—a long way to go before I'm comfortable."
First row: (#39) Chesley Borders,(#3) Bosley Allen, (#12) Kory Bailey, Coach Gunter Brewer,(#6) Danny Davis, (#88) Sam Aiken, (#10) Isaiah Robinson.
Second row: (#31) Brandon Russell, (#19) Danny Rumley, (#18) Bryan Smouse, (#23) Harry Lewis, (#14) Jawarski Pollock.