WVU Adds Second Football Commit Of The Week As Hammond Russell Comes Aboard
While COVID-19 has slowed most athletic activities on college campuses across the nation, it hasn’t put a total stop to recruiting. West Virginia continued its momentum in that phase of the game on Friday when Dublin, Ohio, defensive end Hammond Russell announced his choice of the Mountaineers over some 20 other institutions that had offered scholarships.
More money more problems respect my decision pic.twitter.com/ujLi56PhuE
— hammond russell (@Lildukes3) April 10, 2020
A 6-foot-3, 245-pound defensive end at Dublin Coffman High School, which is just outside of Columbus, Russell had Power 5 offers from Indiana, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Iowa State, Kentucky, Michigan State, Minnesota, Pitt, and Purdue. Group of 5 schools offering included Cincinnati, Akron, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Miami (OH) and Toledo.
Russell is the sixth player in West Virginia’s Class of 2021, and the second on the defensive side of the ball, where he joins safety Saint McLeod. Quarterback Will Crowder announced his commitment to West Virginia on April 7.
A defensive end with good length and a long wingspan, Russell uses quickness and excellent footwork to rush the passer. He can change direction quickly and keeps his balance when making moves so as not to make himself susceptible to blockers looking to catch opponents in awkward positions.
Russell also shows the ability to get penetration whether lining up inside, head up or on the outside shoulder of opposing blockers. While his use of space to execute speed moves is his forte, he also flashes the talent to take on a head-up opponent and get off the block quickly. His pursuit in the open field and to plays run away from him is also impressive, and that is vital in the base three-down linemen scheme typically employed by WVU.
While there are always technique improvements to be made, Russell gets his hand and arms extended to keep opposing blockers from getting into his frame, and has the makings of good technique to break contact with his foes.
West Virginia has just two seniors on the 2020 defensive line roster – Jeffery Pooler and Darius Stills. With his build Russell would appear to be slotted toward the outside of the line – Pooler’s spot – on defensive fronts. It’s also possible that Dante Stills will explore NFL options after the 2020 season, so getting a defensive line anchor at this point in the recruiting process is a nice foundation from which to build.
Russell could also be a bandit in West Virginia’s hybrid defensive scheme, as his mobility and quickness afoot could allow him to drop into pass coverage in some situations, but at this point, he appears to be more suited to play with his hand on the ground as a more traditional defensive end.