Inside the Class of '07: Russell Carter

The 4th in a daily series of interviews and photo essays on members of the Longhorn Class of '07: defensive end Russell Carter.

Russell Carter
Defensive End
Houston Westbury HS
National Rank at DE: 11
Overall State Rank: 10
Star Rating: ****

An Inside Texas conversation with Westbury head coach Scott Joseph on Russell Carter:

IT: What are Russell’s strengths as a football player that made him such a desirable prospect for Texas, Arizona and other schools?

Joseph: Russell's whole strength I think is that he's a good kid. He came here from Arizona very polite, very cordial, very nice, and that played a big part in Texas recruiting him. Character. Russell has good character. I can always count on him; he's always going to be there, he's always going to be doing the things he's supposed to be doing. He tries to get the kids up, he tries to make them play harder and raise them up to his level of playing, and for us, he was the captain of our team. They voted him captain even though he'd only been here a year, so he's very personable, the kids liked him, and they could look at him and see that he could play football. But playing football, a lot of people can do that. More or less, his whole thing is he's a good guy that will be at practice and work hard every day and try to get better. Every day -- even in the weight room, getting dressed, getting on the field -- he was one of the first on the field and that was a big thing because our kids don't have very long because we get out of school so late. He was one of the first ones in the lockerroom and one of the first ones on the field to get them out there because they only had about 12 minutes after the bell rang to get dressed and get out on the field and ready, but he was one of the first ones out there. He led by example. We talked many times in here, 'You may not be a vocal person, which you're not, you may not be as outspoken as you were in Arizona.' I said, 'Just lead by example. They're going to follow your lead and do what you do. You're the leader of this thing. If you work hard they're going to work hard. If you get out there early they're going to get out there early. Just lead by example.' And I think that was his biggest plus for us; he knew how to work. He came in from the outside and bought into our system real fast and worked hard and worked in the weight room. Every aspect of it, trying to learn. He watched video during lunch. The other kids would go lunch; Russell would be sitting here in the video room watching video as he ate lunch. He was dedicated. He's strong that way, but football-wise, he's got quick feet, got good hands, he can move. Oh, he sees things. He understands football. Strengths as a football player? Sheesh. That boy's got quick feet, quick acceleration, his hands are great and his quickness. Feet and hands and recognizing things. He understands football. He understands the game.

IT: What did the Texas coaches tell you that they like about Russell?

Joseph: His size and his speed coming off the ball. I sold him pretty good (to Oscar Giles), but he proved everything right. Just coming in (from Arizona) as a junior, he didn't have many people looking at him and I kept telling people, 'The kid can absolutely play.' And people started watching film of his junior year and afterwards, he got hot! They understood that this child could play... Russell has so much athletic ability and not many people knew about that. Shoot, the boy can play basketball, and I'm sure he can play baseball, and he's running track now.

IT: When did the Texas coaches first get on him?

Joseph: I've known Oscar for about 10 years, and I saw Oscar and said, 'Man, I've got a kid that is darn good.' And he said, 'Really, let me come by and take a look at him.' And he did, and he said, 'I like him but I don't know what we're going to do.' I said, 'You need to take this tape back.' That's when they were recruiting that kid out of Kilgore (Eddie Jones) and Oscar came in here and stood here, we were in off-season, and he said, 'Scott, (Russell) reminds me of Eddie Jones. I just left Kilgore and drove down here and he reminds me of Eddie Jones. He's got the same build as him.' And I said, 'That kid right there is for real.' And he goes, 'I don't know what we're going to do.' Then it was at this time last year, he came in and watched him in the weight room, and said, 'Dang, I've got to get on him.' So they went back and watched film and that's when they got on him pretty hot and heavy... they got on him about this time last year. Came in, saw him lifting weights, saw him in off-season, saw him lift and coach Brown sat in my office and poked his head out there and Russell happened to be at a station right by my door, and Coach Brown said, 'I like the way he looks.' And they saw some film on him. They saw our 10th game (of his junior year) because I stood him up some. He played linebacker some. I blitzed him off the edge, blitzed him up the middle, did some things with him standing up and he did really good and they just watched his athletic ability. Heck, he leaped over a guy. When you can do that at 6-4, 235 you're a pretty dang good athlete.

IT: What are the areas of Russell’s game that he needs to improve upon to be successful in college

Joseph: [Long pause] I don't know if it is in his game, but in his whole repertoire of things, he can get a lot stronger. He benched 335 last year and I think once he gets in college he'll get a lot stronger. Three-thirty-five's not bad, but I think he'll get a lot stronger in college. And especially playing at D-end, he's going to have to go up against those people that bench 450 and 475. So I think his strength can go up. Everything else, I like the way he does things. He listens, he takes the coaching. I mean, I tell him to do it, and he may have questions and ask me later, but from a coach's standpoint you couldn't ask for anything better... He is going to take the coaching and do what you ask him to do as best as he can. He see things, he understands blocking schemes, he understands what people are trying to do, hat placement, everything. We try to teach the little things and we're big on technique. We're going to watch film every day, every practice film every day. And we talked about steps. I'm talking about if he doesn't step with the right foot at this certain time, we were very technique-oriented with him and he took all of it and understood what we were trying to do... If you ask me, I don't see very much. He'll get stronger in college, Maddog will get him there. There's not much else. He's the full package, as I tell people.

IT: Does he project as a power end or a rush end?

Joseph: More of a rush end-type of kid. Like I said, he is so quick, a 6-4 guy at 235-240 pounds that can run a 4.6. Shoot, he's quick, quick hands and I didn't let him go! We're a read front. We were not an attack front up front.

IT: But he still ended up with impressive stats for you guys...

Joseph: Oh yeah, it's amazing. He recognized things so fast, and he reacted fast. You can put his hand on the ground in a more attack front, which I know that guy (Larry MacDuff) that's coming in there is going to do. Russell asked about the new scheme, and I said, 'Look Russell, they're in a tight front, they used to run that in Arizona. I went out there and visited (MacDuff) in the spring one time when he was at Arizona and you're going to understand the defense real easy. But it's going to be an attack front more than what we've got.'

IT: Was he excited about that?

Joseph: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. He would have liked to have done it with me, but like I said, he took the coaching. A kid like that wants to just come off the ball and beat somebody around, but he did what we asked him to do. 'You're going to take a six-inch jab step,' boom, that's all we wanted him to do. We played sideline to sideline and it took him a while because I guess in Arizona (high school) they were an attack front so when I got him he was already trying to get way upfield and we're not an upfield, penetrating team. We're a sideline to sideline team. Once he figured it out, shoot, he looked at me and said, 'I understand it now. We're going to play sideline to sideline and run 'em down. Make 'em run 40 yards to get none.' So he understands football and he understood what we were trying to accomplish. And once he saw it and could see the total picture in his mind, he could look and see on video, 'That's what we're looking for.' 'Yes! String it out all the way to the sideline.' 'Gotcha.'

IT: So he was a guy that took the film study well, something that he's going to have to do a lot of in Austin?

Joseph: Yep. Every morning before school we watched film from practice. We would meet in here, sit down, go through his steps. Heck, we'd even meet at night. And then he'd come back the next morning and get at it again. He would sit in here with the coaches and come back in the morning and watch himself again. He did all that. And we put him at running back some. We ran the option to him. We pitched it to him two or three times. He was our power I back, and we'd fake a play and run the option and pitched it to him.

IT: I would guess that speaks to his athletic ability?

Joseph: Yes. We played him some at tight end. We're a straight two-platoon team like in college, but he was just an athlete we thought we had to get out there some (on offense). They'll find out (at Texas), he's a good kid not scared of competition.

IT: What's he working on in the off-season?

Joseph: He's running track.

IT: What about weight-room wise?

Joseph: He is working out and he's lifting still and he's running track, so he's going to stay in shape.

IT: Does he want to play early?

Joseph: Uh-huh.

IT: What did Russell mean to your football program?

Joseph: We were the No. 4 defense in the Houston area, and No. 1 in our district, because of him. There's no ifs, ands or butts. We lost him for a game and we lost that game. We had to win a game to get in the playoffs and when he went out I knew, the whole team kind of went down. He pulled his groin and tried to go and tried to go and kept telling me, 'I'm not full speed, I'm not full speed.' I told him, 'At half speed you're better than what No. 2 is.' We put the other kid in, and one of them got really hurt, so he was like, 'I'll go back in and do it.' And he did. He took us to the level we did defensively. Being No. 4 in the Houston area in defense in total yards is pretty good, and he made us that. He did it. If he wasn't on our defense, shoot, we may have been No. 5 or No. 6 in our district. He took us to another level, big-time.

IT: Is there a defining moment for you that exemplifies Russell's ability as a football player?

Joseph: His junior year, against Washington, he was at the three technique, D-lineman down in the interior, and he jumped over the guard on a fourth and goal play. It was fourth and goal, and we had spent fourth and goal inside the five. Because they got inside the five with a first down and they went one, two, three, four and we held them out but they got a first down on a penalty, and then they went one, two, three, and it was the eighth play, he jumped over the guard, grabbed the quarterback and pulled him down about the one or two yardline and we were off the field. It was amazing! That last one he just said, 'They're not getting in.' He did something similar against Madison. Wow! He came off on the quarterback and running back, hit two guys and tackled 'em both. It didn't matter who had the ball.

Also see: Inside Scoop -- Feb. 2 edition

Inside Scoop -- Feb. 9 edition

UT Signing Day Bio: A three-year letterwinner and two-year starter at defensive end … a two-sport prep letterman who totaled 250 tackles during his final two seasons … tabbed first-team 5A all-state by the Texas Sports Writers Association and second-team 5A all-state by The Associated Press as a senior … named first-team All-Houston area that year … also named first-team all-district 20-5A … recorded 139 tackles, 14 sacks and 23 TFL … had 11 tackles and three sacks versus Madison … earned second-team all-district 22-4A as a junior … helped Westbury to a 6-4 record … posted 111 tackles while leading the team in sacks and fumble recoveries while playing defensive end and linebacker … also a three-year letterwinner in track and field … served as a teacher's aide at Westbury … his cousin, Jaime Perry Collins, played baseball at Howard University … full name is Russell O. Carter … born 11/11/88 in Chicago … lived in Kansas through elementary school and Tempe, Ariz. until high school … went to the same high school in Tempe (Corona del Sol) as fellow signee Blaine Irby.


NEXT UP: BRANDON COLLINS (Note: John Chiles is rescheduled for later in the series.)

All photos: Will Gallagher/Inside Texas

Horns Digest Top Stories