Tennessee made an in-home visit with Russell last week, as did LSU, Florida and Florida State. Auburn will made its in-home visit on Monday.
The stakes have always been high for the nation's No. 3 rated quarterback prospect, but they have increased for the Vols with their decision to no longer recruit Chris Leak, rated No. 2.
Leak became North Carolina's all-time leading passer early this season and has pursued several career national passing records. Likewise, Russell finished his high school football career as the No. 1 passer in Alabama high school history, surpassing current Crimson Tide freshman Brodie Croyle's mark with 10,648 yards. As a senior, Russell threw for 3,328 yards and 21 touchdown passes.
Russell has been to a couple of LSU games this season, but the Tigers already have a commitment from the nation's No. 5 QB prospect in Robert Lane. The Tigers also have three other quarterbacks on scholarship. There is more opportunity at Auburn however the Tigers return former Parade All-American Joseph Campbell (6-4, 218) who will be a junior.
Russell attends the same high school in Mobile that produced Tee Martin, but whether that connection is an advantage or disadvantage remains a source of conjecture.
The only other uncommitted signal callers the Vols have extended offers to are: Richard Kolvacheck of San Diego, Calif., and Michael Bush (6-4, 225, 4.5) of Louisville Male. This is the first season Bush has played primarily at quarterback and many feel he is a better prospect at wide receiver or safety.
Other quarterbacks Tennessee continues to recruit but has yet to offer, include: Zack Richardson and Klay Koester of Georgia as well as Cliff Davis on Euproa, Miss. The Vols hope to sign two quarterbacks in the Class of 2003.