ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia defensive line coach Chris Wilson might have thought he was the victim of an April Fool’s joke. Shortly after hosting ESPN Watch List defensive tackle Dontavius Russell (Carrollton, Ga./Carrollton) and seeing him drive off, Wilson received a phone call from the 6-foot-3, 300-pound junior, who said he wanted to commit to Georgia.
It was no joke. Russell decided he wanted to play for the Bulldogs.
“I just left Georgia,” Russell said. “It was just like every other time I visited. But when we got in the car on our way back, I just thought about, ‘What if I committed?’ The thought of that was just so peaceful, and it felt like a place that I wanted to be, so I just went ahead and made a decision.”
With his decision made, Wilson called the coaches from the car.
“I just called them back and spoke to Coach Wilson and then Mark Richt,” Russell said. “I committed to them. They said, ‘That is awesome,’ and, ‘We are glad to have you,’ and a bunch of other stuff.”
Russell credits the Bulldogs' consistent message for winning him over. He had offers from 12 programs, including Alabama, Florida, Florida State, USC and Clemson.
“It felt like Georgia meant what they were saying,” Russell said. “I have been up there three or four times. I have visited other schools multiple times, and they said something different each time I went. But when I went to Georgia, they said the same thing each time. I just felt like that would be a good place to be.”
The sales pitch apparently included the school as a whole.
“They didn’t talk to me too much about football,” Russell said. “The talked more about what Georgia as a school had to offer. They told me how stuff would go and how they do things. I decided I wanted to be a part of that.”
The talented junior had his parents with him on his visit.
“They agreed with me when I told them I was thinking about it,” Russell said. “They said, ‘We like it.’ So if they liked it, and I liked it, then I didn’t see a problem with going ahead and committing.”
Russell said he will now try to fill out the Class of 2014. He joins safety Nick Glass (Duluth, Ga./Peachtree Ridge), running back Stanley Williams (Monroe, Ga./George Walton) and wide receiver Krenwick Sanders (Jesup, Ga./Wayne County) as early Georgia commitments.
“If I can help, I will,” Russell said. “I am very committed. I don’t think I will visit another school.”