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Insider

Russell goes Irish

12/29/2011

After narrowing his choices down to Notre Dame and Washington, running back KeiVarae Russell (Everett, Wash./Mariner) announced moments ago at a school assembly that he’ll play his college ball in South Bend.

We caught up with Russell earlier in the week who gave us the reasons why he picked the Irish over the hometown Huskies.

“I’m going to Notre Dame,” Russell said. “There were a lot of reasons why I made my decision. It wasn’t just one thing. I felt the most comfortable at Notre Dame and even though they were the school farthest away from home, they recruited me harder than anyone. I love the academics and the alumni support there is second to none.

“I love the tradition and just the feel you get walking around campus. I like the offense and feel it’s a great fit for me. I respect the coaches and feel comfortable with all of them and really like Coach [Brian] Kelley. I think the program is going in the right direction, and I’m excited to be a part of helping that happen. Notre Dame is just an incredible place, and the more I thought about it, the easier the decision was for me.”

Russell also visited Cal and turned down offers from the entire Pac 12 minus Oregon, plus Boise State and Purdue. His decision to snub the hometown Huskies was another blow to the UW program who earlier lost in-state athlete Cedric Dozier (Lakewood, Wash./Lakes) to Cal and missed the cut for offensive lineman Josh Garnett (Puyallup, Wash.).

After doing a great job of building a fence around the state the past two seasons, there’s a lot of pressure on the Husky staff to reel in the last big remaining in-state target, Zach Banner (Lakewood, Wash./Lakes). Banner does have Washington high on his list but USC and Oklahoma are very high as well and his decision could go either way right now.

“I liked Washington a lot,” Russell said. “I mean, they were in my final two and I know I would have been very happy there. I like the coaching staff a lot and I thought I could play early there as well. It wasn’t anything against Washington. I just felt Notre Dame was a better all around fit for me and that’s why I chose to commit there.”