Chicago De La Salle has a talented roster with several prospects from the 2017 on down to the 2019 class on it this year.
Cornerback Wynston Russell played varsity as a freshman, and he did not just play, he played well. Now going into his sophomore year, the recruiting attention is increasing and he now has his first two scholarship offers from UCLA and Western Michigan.
"I'm blessed," he said. "I have to thank my parents, [De La Salle head coach Mike Boehm], our youth football program, the Junior Spartans and coach Howard Griffith. I'm blessed to be prepared so well for this opportunity."
"I'm extremely proud of Wynston," Boehm says. "not only on the field, but in the classroom. He's an honor student, so it is going to be exciting to watch him mature over the next three seasons."
That UCLA offer materialized after Russell attended two Sound Mind, Sound Body camps, Atlanta and Los Angeles, where the Bruins staff saw him.
"We had come to both L.A. and Atlanta," De La Salle defensive coordinator Daron Williams said. "Atlanta was okay, he got a groin pull and a hip flexor and was not able to do one on ones, then the L.A. camp is when it exploded. We met the DB coach from UCLA (Demetrice Martin), he was a great guy and hit it off, talked about our backgrounds and common influences we had as men and he took a liking to Wynston. He saw his footwork and that he was an outstanding kid, we sent his HUDL film and kept in contact with each other on a regular basis and he finally made the offer."
Williams, who has 20 years of coaching and training experience, and Russell have been working together for quite some time. Russell played cornerback last year, but Williams says he will play more safety this year, which will allow the team to move him around and use more of his abilities.
A middle school track standout, Russell plans to return to the track this spring as well, but not before a Fall season in which he expects to be better in every phase.
"It was a different experience [playing varsity as a freshman]. I was used to being bigger and faster than most people, so it was humbling but I worked hard and it just shaped me to become a better player."
Russell says he is now hearing from much of the Big Ten and Pac-12 as well. Michigan State, Ohio State, Michigan, Illinois, Northwestern, Utah, Arizona, Cal, Washington and then SEC programs like Arkansas, Auburn and more are aware of him and are in contact.
Williams says they hope to get back to UCLA as soon as they can also.
"Any time you get a chance to go to L.A. and enjoy yourself and the sunshine, that's great, so we plan on it next year. We will do their team camp. We definitely want to hear out there and let them get their hands on him more and check him out. With our game schedule and me as defensive coordinator, it's tough to get there for a game but if we can get a flight out there for a weekend, we will try and then definitely be at team camp next year."