It's about 9 a.m. on a school day, and Quincy Russell is pumping iron. Hopping onto the bench press after one of his former Sam Houston teammates, Russell reps massive amounts of weight, then helps others with their lifts.
It's somewhat of a surreal sight: Sam Houston didn't have a functional weight room until a couple years ago, and Russell has been impressed with the effect the room has had on younger players.
"Two years ago, this weight room would be closed right now," Russell said. "You see all the young guys in there working out everyday. School doesn't start until 8:45, and they're coming in at eight to work out. So it's a great opportunity for them to come in, do the same stuff I did and be even better than me."
Some, including Javonte Magee and Leo Thomas are likely to be big-time prospects, but make no mistake: Russell is the prototype, the first player from his ISD to earn an invitation to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He said he thinks those teammates have even more potential, and he encourages them to reach for it, even if he doesn't give them school advice. When asked about whether he tries to put in a pro-Texas word with either player, Russell smiles and shakes his head.
"I just tell them: 'do what you feel,'" Russell said. "Not everybody has the same feeling about every school. If somebody wants to talk to me about school, I will. But it's their choice."
Russell will report to his new school, the University of Texas, on June 7 or 8, as soon as school finishes.
"I'm going to report as soon as possible so I can start with the full college workout," Russell said. "At the same time, I'm working with one of the top trainers in the country, having them look at my knee and telling me what I need to do so I can get 100 percent and get back out there."
Russell missed most of this season with a knee injury, then addressed the issue with a surgery after the Army game. The injury, and ensuing surgery, caused his weight to swell up to 315 pounds.
"The recovery is going well," Russell said. "I still have a little swelling here and there when I get done working out, but I feel good. It felt a lot better than the first surgery I had. I'm getting back into it slowly but surely.
"It all depends on how my body reacts when I work out," Russell said. "There really isn't a timeline."
Russell has helped his cause through a series of workouts that has cut his weight back down to his playing size of 285 to 290 pounds. That's the size that he'll need to play at to come in and immediately impact a Longhorn team looking for more of a presence on the interior defensive line.
"(The coaches) told us that when we come in, everybody's going to have a clear shot to win a starting job," Russell said. "They said if you come in, work and do what you have to do, then the job will be yours. I want to go in and push and do all I can so I can be that true freshman (starter)."
Russell said that was an attitude shared by several of his classmates in the Texas Class of 2011, one ranked among the top few recruiting groups in the country.
"All that stuff, when people talk about the top class, you listen to it, but I don't pay any mind to it," Russell said. "That's just people out there talking about what we did. But I look at 'can we win these games, can we beat these teams.' That's how I go about it.
"As far as who has the top freshman class, that's just talk for the fans, really," Russell said. "I just want to win."