KeiVarae Russell ready to make an impact in 2013

By: Jim Johnston Email
By: Jim Johnston Email

It is almost hard to believe that KeiVarae Russell earned freshman All-American honors as a cornerback. Not because he isn't talented, he absolutely is. It's hard to believe because he had never played cornerback until three weeks before the season started.

Russell, who was originally recruited as a running back, was moved to defense after the Irish lost Lo Wood and Austin Collinsworth to injury.

It didn't take KeiVarae long to move up the depth chart, starting in all 13 games for the Irish in 2012. He came ranked third on the team in interceptions behind only Manti Te'o and Bennett Jackson. Russell also recorded 58 tackles, 37 of which were solo.

While every game was a learning experience for the freshman he said the opportunity to go up against some of the nations best really opened his eyes to what he needs to work on.

Two of the players who really stood out to him were USC's Marquis Lee and Alabama's Amari Cooper.

"They were just explosive. They were really explosive off the line of scrimmage and when they ran their routes. You had to be sound in everything you did. Whether it was a post or just a quick comeback, it was quick. Everything was explosive," said Russell.

Irish fans have seen what he can do on just three weeks of practice, so it is understandable that they are excited to see what he can do with an entire season under his belt.

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