Russell chose Rutgers as his first official visit earlier in November, but had been talking about it for much longer than that with cousin and Rutgers freshman defensive tackle Kenneth Kirksey.
"I know he's been telling me for a while he wants me to come up to see him at Rutgers," Russell said. "It will be cool to see him in a college practice."
Rutgers is in Russell's top four, which includes Louisville, Purdue and Florida International. It is the first stop on his official visit tour before he makes a decision late in the recruiting process.
"I'm excited just to be around a college program and see what the team is like," Russell said. "I want to see how it's run, how everybody practices, how they interact. I want to see what college football is like.
"It's exciting for me personally because, when I was a freshman and sophomore, I never would have dreamed I would have opportunities like this to play college football."
Russell will be at Rutgers during a busy weekend with the expected start of bowl practices. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound tight end said he is excited to see his recruiting coach, assistant Chris Hewitt, and to go to New York City.
"I've been to New York before for family, but I would love to go back," Russell said. "It was great the last time I went. The city is so big. It's the kind of place you can just get lost in because it's so huge."
Russell said he is close with Hewitt, who recruits his area and asked him to take an official visit to Piscataway.
"We talk about me coming up and seeing the program," Russell said. "Coach Hewitt told me not to commit anywhere before I see that place. I'm excited to get up there and see him. … He's a cool guy. He's down to earth, but I can tell he's a coach that will be strict and focused and about business on the field. He's someone I know I can get along with."
Some schools cut off communication with Russell after he tore a knee ligament, but Rutgers continues to show interest with the hopes of adding a second tight end to the recruiting class.
Russell is far along in his rehabilitation process, hoping to play next Friday, and would be fully healed by the time he enrolls for college barring any set-backs.