Russell Backs Off Commitment

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. --- Less than 24 hours after making a verbal commitment to North Carolina, Christian Russell retracted the pledge.

"I wanted to commit and we committed and everything, but Coach [Milton] Butts said it was too early," Russell said. "So he fixed everything. He told me to take my time and stuff, so that's what I'm going to do."

Russell, a 6-foot, 210-pound junior linebacker, said he and his mother spoke to the UNC coaches Monday night. During that conversation, they committed to UNC.

On Tuesday morning, Inside Carolina learned of the commitment through its sources and contacted Russell's mother, who confirmed the commitment.

"He committed [Monday] night," Russell's mother, Bridgette, said Tuesday morning. "He said he prayed about and it talked to several people and then he thought it was a good decision."

Upon reading the Inside Carolina report, writers from the Charlotte Observer and Fayetteville Observer contacted Butts, Westover's head football coach. Butts told the newspapers that Russell was not committed to UNC.

"Coach Butts, he went and he talked about it and he fixed everything for me," Russell explained.

Now, Russell, who has only visited UNC, plans to visit other schools and go from there.

"[Butts] just wanted me to take my time, finish the season out, and go out [and visit] as many colleges as I can," Russell said. "He told me to take other visits to schools, take my time, and things will come."

Russell doesn't have any future trips planned and is unsure what schools he will visit.

In addition to UNC, Russell has been offered a scholarship by NC State. He is also hearing from most of the schools in the ACC, as well as South Carolina.

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