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KeiVarae Russell pledges commitment to Irish

Dec 29, 2011, 4:04 PM EDT


Just a few hours before Notre Dame battles Florida State, the Irish won a big recruiting victory over another formidable foe. The Irish received the verbal commitment of Seattle’s KeiVarae Russell, beating out the hometown Washington Huskies for a running back that’s an absolute perfect fit for the Notre Dame offense.

Thin at the position, Russell fills the lightning portion of a thunder and lightning duo of Russell and Ohio’s William Mahone, a more physical runner to the open field nightmare Russell looks to be. The six-foot, 175-pound back might not have the physicality yet to run between the tackles, but the Irish will be able to use Russell in the backfield or the slot, where the dual-threat back can use the open field to his advantage.

Russell had offers from all of the Pac-12 as well as ones from Boise State and Vanderbilt. It was largely expected to be a race between the Irish and the Huskies, with Russell reportedly telling the Irish coaches of his commitment last week.

“There are a lot of opportunities you get having a degree from Notre Dame and being a graduate from there,” Russell said, as reported by Jason Sapp of “Football is never really bad there, but the coaches are working on making the team better and they’re coming back. They see me as a player that can come in and help with that right away. I can play a lot there because they have room on the depth chart for me.”

That depth chart is healing quickly, with Russell’s decision likely giving Brian Kelly more flexibility with a guy like Theo Riddick, a recruit Russell compares to favorably. Off the field, the Irish are getting a leader as well, as the four-star recruit is the class president of Mariner High School and does excellent work in the classroom.

Adding Russell adds another explosive athlete to the Irish roster, posting a 4.5 forty-yard dash, a 38-inch vertical leap, and a shuttle run time of 3.77 seconds at The Opening, a recruiting combine hosted by Nike that was attended by some of the nation’s top players. That type of speed means Russell has the ability to impact the offense almost immediately, even while he works his body into the type of shape it needs to be in to be a featured back.

Russell is the 17th commitment to the 2012 recruiting class, and the fifth skill position player on the offensive side of the ball, joining Mahone, and wide receivers Deontay Greenberry, Justin Ferguson, and Chris Brown. Russell will play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on January 7.

Photo of Russell property of The Herald of Everett County.



  1. dickasman - Dec 29, 2011 at 4:38 PM

    Id expect faster 40 times from lil guy. Essentially replacing theo with theo.

    • Keith Arnold - Dec 29, 2011 at 4:58 PM

      Real 40 time vs. Fake 40 time is a pretty big difference. If you’re looking for a reason to be excited, that shuttle time is ridiculously quick.

      • dickasman - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:05 PM

        is this kid fast enough to get away from the defenders like Theo? You know seeing as how Theo just ran away from defenders like gangbusters all year for us.

      • dickasman - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:06 PM

        I’d love to see ND score just a one time for a change, a 4.3 4.4 40 yd dash runners like USC, Florida and Alabama regularly gets. I won’t complain after that….Just one baby, just oneeeeeee!

      • jomilly - Dec 29, 2011 at 7:51 PM

        4.3 times dont exist, if you have any questions about that dickhead oh assman, look at nfl combine forty times. Realty check homeboy, thanks keith for the shuttle time.

      • dmac4real - Jan 1, 2012 at 5:19 PM

        @Dickasman….Darby is reportedly in a 4.3 range.

  2. irishbuckeye - Dec 29, 2011 at 4:38 PM

    Welcome aboard, Mr. Russell. I’ve been researching him for a couple months and his tapes look almost identical to Theo’s. Really looking forward to him putting on about 20 lbs and forming a duo with Mahone.

  3. leftcoastirishfan - Dec 29, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    Great pick up for the Irish, our 2012 class is coming together nicely. NOW COME ON IRISH LET’S WHIP SOME INDIANS

  4. danirish - Dec 30, 2011 at 8:41 AM

    Great! Let’s see how Kelly and company can flounder around this guy.

  5. twoody50 - Dec 30, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    How could ND let the home grown (Columbus Ind) best QB in High School (scouting organizations) slip through their fingers and get gobbled up by of all teams LSU.

    • papadec - Dec 31, 2011 at 2:39 PM

      Couda been worse – couda been usc. But seriously, Kiel went where it is best for him to go. Three and gone to the nfl.

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