"I'll make my decision a week from Monday," said Russell, who checked out the West Virginia football program and took in its opening fall practice. "West Virginia is my top school right now. Coach Stewart and I talked about that, and I had a good visit there. It's a great school, and I love the facilities and the coaches."
As of now, it looks as if Russell will land at WVU. If he signs, he would be able to join the team on the first day of school, which is Aug. 18. He is returning to Pierce Community College to finish up his final work and round out the semester, which ends on Aug. 14.
"Right now, as far I know, I will be immediately eligible," said Russell. "Everything should be in order so that when I finish up, I can play. So, I will be a Mountaineer."
With that last statement, it appears as if any lingering doubt about Russell's future. It only remains for the junior college cornerback to finish out his summer session and sign the commitment papers.
Russell's path to a Division I school has taken him down roads he didn't expect. A standout at Stranahan High School in Florida, Russell broke his leg five games into his senior season, and suffered the nightmare that many recruits who get injured during prime recruiting time. Grade issues also figured into the mix, so Russell knew that he would have to go the junior college route.
"You know how it is. Everyone dropped off me – they left me alone. I was being recruited by UCLA, but when I got hurt they wanted to get me in a junior college near them. So I went to Reedley in California, but there weren't a whole lot of guys going to Division I from there. There was a lot of talent, but guys weren't getting recruited. I left after the spring, and I switched over to Pierce. The coaches there were really happy to get me, and they got me in really quickly."
Thus set at a school where he was more comfortable, Russell was able to excel on the field and finish his degree. Three years after graduating from high school, he is now the shortest of steps away from fulfilling his Division I dream.
If all of his academic work and degree are approved, Russell would have four years to play three at West Virginia.