Ude taking a step back from recruiting

Atlanta (Ga.) Westminster defensive end Russell Ude discusses the football season, official visits and why he’s taking a step back from the recruiting process.

Finally fully recovered from a nagging offseason injury, Atlanta Westminster defensive end Russell Ude has helped guide the Wildcats to a 3-0 record as they prepare for a matchup with Towers High School on Friday night. Aiming for that 4-0 mark, Ude reflected on his team and personal performance so far this season.

“We’re not a team that’s going to have crazy stats from anybody because of the way we play our defense,” he said. “We play gap control defense. Our defensive line is supposed to take up blocks for our linebackers. But I’m pretty satisfied with my play so far.”

The three-star prospect has three official visits planned out right now. His first is scheduled for Oct. 18, when he plans to visit California for their game against UCLA. After that, he’s lined up visits to Oregon (Nov. 1 vs. No. 16 Stanford) and Miami (Nov. 15 vs. No. 1 Florida State).

While he said he’s excited to see some marquee match ups in person, Ude admitted that one of those dates could be pushed back because it would interfere with his football schedule.

“I might try to reschedule some of my officials and see if maybe I can go after the season,” he said. “Not for Oregon or Miami, but I might go after the season for the Cal game. I’ll talk to the coaches about that.”

Even if his visit to Berkeley has to wait, it isn’t an indication that the Golden Bears have fallen out of favor with him.

“It’s a school I’m very interested in,” he said. “I’m very high on them.”

Ude remains in regular contact with the Golden Bears, Ducks and Hurricanes. Currently, however, Ude is taking a step back from the recruiting process to reevaluate things and regain a sense of normalcy. With regard to Oregon, he says he respects the way that the coaching staff has let him have his space.

“It’s cool because they don’t blow up my phone because I don’t like that,” he said of the Oregon staff. “I’m really taking a step back from the recruiting thing. It’s always fun at first when there’s a whole bunch of hype and all that good stuff and then you just realize that you really want to start being a kid again. And that’s where I’m at right now.

“I don’t really want to get too tight with any coaching staffs,” he said. “Even though — Oregon in particular — those coaching staffs has been so great as far as my recruitment because there’s so much dishonesty in this whole recruiting business. Coaches will tell kids anything to get them to come to their school. They’ll lead you on. These coaches have been a hundred percent honest with me from the beginning of the process, kept me informed with where they were at with my evaluations and I really, really appreciated it. That’s a thing that makes me trust that coaching staff and I know that that is a school that as far as a football standpoint, that I would be happy at.”

His new outlook has allowed him time to find peace of mind and realize how fortunate he is to be in the position he currently occupies.

“I understand more now that I’ve been in this process that it’s more frivolous to be enamored with it as a recruit,” he said. “Right now, it’s just really refreshing to step back and realize that I’ve been blessed with this opportunity to go play football in college. That doesn’t define me as a person. I don’t have to go and be obsessed with it.”

After recently releasing a top eight of Miami, Oregon, California, UCLA, Penn State, Boston College, Michigan State and Wisconsin, Ude has narrowed his focus on what factors will determine his leader when the time comes to name one.

“The key thing for me is how I fit into the program, the overall academics of the school and how I can come out from the school with more than just a degree in playing football, but a degree that’s going to carry weight in a global market, especially more business oriented things,” he said. “Just being in a location that’s real suited to my personality and a place that could be like home to me that I wouldn’t want to leave. Those are the things that I’m looking for.”

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