Scout Rating: ****
Scout Rank: JC
Size: 6-1, 235
Hometown: (EMCC) Fayetteville, NC
Stats: 4.55 40
Projected position at OM: Middle Linebacker
Accolades: Enrolled at Ole Miss in January 2014 ... JUNIOR COLLEGE: Rated a 4-star prospect by Scout.com ... Ranked No. 21 among all junior college prospects by Scout.com ... Rated the No. 1 JUCO middle linebacker in the country by Scout.com ... NJCAA Second Team All-America selection as a sophomore after helping East Mississippi to a 12-0 record and the NJCAA national championship ... Helped the EMCC defense finish second nationally allowing just 9.8 points per game and first nationally with 67 sacks ... Posted 80 tackles, including seven TFLs and three sacks ... Scored two defensive touchdowns and totaled eight pass breakups, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery ... Had nine tackles in the NJCAA national title game ... Named to the NJCAA All-Region 23 team, first team MACJC All-State, and MACJC North Division Defensive Back MVP ... Earned second team MACJC All-North Division honors as a freshman after totaling a team-high 77 tackles, six TFLs, three sacks, four fumble recoveries, two pass breakups and a forced fumble ... Helped EMCC go 20-2 during his two seasons ... Coached in junior college by Buddy Stephens ... PREP SCHOOL: Attended Hargrave Military Academy in 2011 ... HIGH SCHOOL: Tabbed a 3-star prospect and top-40 linebacker in the nation by Scout.com ... Played his senior season at Hoke County High School (Raeford, N.C.), earning a spot in the North Carolina East-West All-Star Game ... Was a three-year starter at Westover High School (Fayetteville, N.C.), where he racked up more than 350 tackles and 2,000 rushing yards ... Had 136 tackles on defense and 1,728 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns on offense as a junior.
Recruiting Competition: Reb DC Dave Wommack was looking hard for a middle linebacker to replace Mike Marry. At EMCC practice for the NC game, Wommack kept noticing Russell. He watched some film and went on him immediately, but the Rebs had to get passed Georgia, Wisconsin, UCLA, Auburn and Texas A&M. In the end, it was a Rebel/Badger battle and the Rebs won out.
Quotable: "The coaches were straight with me – that was the main thing. I just want to know where I stand and they laid it all out. I have a chance to come in and take over for Marry and that's all I want."
Scouting Report: A big, fast, athletic middle linebacker, Russell has the size to take on offensive linemen trying to get to the second level, and the quickness to delay blitz a quarterback. He has good flexibility and changes directions more like an outside linebacker because of his burst. Outstanding closing speed that lets him attack laterally and make plays along and behind the line of scrimmage. - Scott Kennedy
Coach Paul Jackson Quote: "Christian is thick, strong and he's got real good movement for a middle linebacker. I also like his approach in the weight room. He's very mature and all business. He comes to work every day. The combination of speed, maturity and size will take him a long way."
Signee Spotlight: Christian Russell
Scout Rating: ****