"I've been thinking about it for a while and I figured I might as well as get it over with. This is where I want to go and nowhere else has changed my mind about it. This is where I feel I'm supposed to be at. So I went ahead and made my decision."
Russell originally committed to UNC on Oct. 5 of last year, but was encouraged to retract the commitment the following day in order to take his time and fully evaluate his options.
UNC was the first school to offer Russell a scholarship. Following the decision in October to withdraw his Tar Heel commitment, 11 other schools offered – Cincinnati, Colorado, Duke, Illinois, Georgia, Miami, NC State, Tennessee, UCLA, Virginia, and Wake Forest. But UNC remained atop his list throughout.
"They've been on me a while and they were the only ones that were coming at me so aggressively – they showed me a lot of interest," Russell said of the Tar Heels, adding that his most recent Chapel Hill visit was two weeks ago.
"My mom fell in love with them, I fell in love with them. All my coaches [and] my family liked them. It's not too far from home. It's a great place to play. There's nothing like playing for your home town team and that's what I want to do."
Besides UNC, he took campus visits to Alabama, Duke, NC State, UCLA and Wake Forest.
"Most of the other places, they were too far from home and I don't want to be far from home – [UNC] is like an hour [away]," Russell said. "Some of the other colleges, they weren't too far either, but Carolina just felt like the place for me to be at. I like the coaches. I like the players – they talk good about the coaches and how it's a good environment and good place to get an education."
Russell said his mother has yet to visit Chapel Hill, but they are planning a family trip in the near future.
Last season, Russell started at both tailback and linebacker for Fayetteville (N.C.) Westover. He rushed for 1,728 yards and 23 touchdowns and collected 136 tackles and four interceptions on defense. During the offseason, he transferred to Hoke County.
UNC is recruiting him as a linebacker.
At the Butler Shrine Bowl Combine in April, Russell measured 5-11, 221 pounds. He ran the 40-yard dash on a track in football cleats and still clocked in at 4.63 (he's been timed at 4.48 in track spikes). He also benched 185 pounds 25 times and recorded a vertical jump of 30.7 inches.
Russell is rated the No. 29 outside linebacker in the nation by Scout.com, while ESPN.com rates him the No. 18 inside linebacker. Inside Carolina's Don Callahan ranks Russell the No. 9 prospect in N.C.
As for the possibility of another de-commitment?
"No worries," Russell said. "This is my final decision. This is what I want to do.
"I still may visit other schools, but right now, Carolina is the school I'm going to. I'll talk to other schools and hear what they have to say, but right now, my mind is set on Carolina."
* April 19 - UNC Remains Russell's No. 1
* Oct. 14 - Game Footage: Christian Russell
* Oct. 13 - Inside the Game: Christian Russell
* Oct. 10 - Russell Backs Off Commitment
* Oct. 6 - Russell Makes Early Decision
* Christian Russell Profile