4-Star DT Dontavius Russell Decommits from Georgia

Tyler Donohue@@TDsTakeNational Recruiting AnalystDecember 2, 2013

247Sports

Georgia lost its grip on a key commitment Sunday night when defensive tackle Dontavious Russell decommitted. The 4-star prospect is opting to explore other options moving forward, he announced on Twitter.

Russell, a 6'3", 300-pound defender, dominates at Carrolton High School (Ga.). He initially committed to the Bulldogs in April and maintained that verbal pact for eight months.

His decommitment is a significant blow to the team's 2014 recruiting class, which currently includes 16 players. Georgia wrapped up the regular season Saturday with a double-overtime victory at Georgia Tech, improving to 8-4.

Russell was expected to team up with fellow coveted defensive tackle prospect Lamont Gaillard (Fayetteville, N.C.) in Athens. Gaillard is listed as a 5-star recruit and the nation's No. 3 player at the position in 247Sports composite rankings.

Russell is considered the country's 10th-best defensive tackle in those rankings.

The duo may still ultimately join forces with the Bulldogs but Russell is apparently ready to broaden his horizon in the recruiting process. Several programs have expressed interest.

He holds offers from Auburn, Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, South Carolina, Stanford and USC.

Auburn may be the team to watch closest in this mix. The Tigers have hosted Russell for two unofficial visits since extending him an offer in February.

Russell spent time at Auburn in late May, nearly two months after he committed to Georgia. He also attended  Junior Day at Alabama in January.

Though Russell will spend time speaking with other coaching staffs during the final stretch toward national signing day, Mark Richt and his staff could regain on of their top targets. He left the door open for a re-commitment to Georgia during a conversation with BulldawgIllustrated.com.

"It's open to whoever is interested," Russell said. "I just wanna make sure UGA is the right place for me... Georgia is still in it."

The Bulldogs remain in the hunt for Russell but must now contend with formidable competition, particularly from conference rivals.