Randy Russell stepped out of his comfort zone last week.
Instead of spending spring break around home, Russell joined several teammates on a tour of college programs in the Midwest. The sophomore safety from Carol City High School in Miami made stops at Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan.
Turns out Russell didn’t mind the change in scenery. In fact, he could see spending more time up that way depending on how his recruitment shakes out.
“Being up there for almost a week, I felt comfortable,” Russell said. “I don’t think it would be a problem moving out of the state, getting away. I don’t think it would be a problem for me.”
Russell added scholarships from Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan during the trip. They joined Ball State, Cincinnati, Northern Illinois and Central Florida on the offer list.
Notre Dame picked up interest before playing host, so Russell took the unofficial visit as an opportunity to learn more about the program.
“It was raining when we got there,” Russell said. “We got there first thing in the morning. It was like six o’clock and they had already started their meetings. We got a chance to be in some of the defensive meetings and meet with some of the defensive coaches. We talked with coach (Brian) Kelly. It was good. We saw the facilities. We were there for awhile. I like the whole culture of the school.”
Kelly delivered a message to the entire group of Carol City prospects — four-star linebacker DeAndre Wilder, three-star safety Naytron Culpepper and Miami wide receiver commitment Kevaughn Dingle were among the others to make the trip — about the recruiting process in general.
“Overall, just be aware of what schools are selling you,” Russell said. “Things they have to offer you, there’s certain things you look for.”
Russell felt Michigan expressed increased interest during the week and connected with some current players also from South Florida. They offered some insight into what they’ve experienced in Ann Arbor so far.
“Even talking to some of the players down from Miami, they say it’s different,” Russell said. “They said there’s some good things going on with coach (Jim) Harbaugh, of course. Things of that nature.”
Next for Russell are potential visits to in-state programs Florida, Florida State and Miami, although nothing is scheduled. He also expects another swing into the Midwest this summer.
Right now the 5-foot-11, 180-pound prospect is taking the process slow.
“I’m just seeing who’s interested,” Russell said. “Testing the water. I don’t really have any standouts right now.”