Dontavius Russell to Auburn: Tigers Land 4-Star DT Prospect

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 3, 2017

Photo courtesy of 247 Sports

Auburn received a commitment from one of the top defensive linemen in the 2014 class on Friday when Dontavius Russell announced he'd decided to join the Tigers.

Russell announced the decision on Twitter:

If you really know me you would know that I  will continue playing football at the University of........................AUBURN!!!! #WDE 🐯

— Dontavius Russell (@Russ_Dont98) December 27, 2013

The Carrollton High School star originally committed to Georgia, but reopened his recruitment following the excitement of this year's Iron Bowl, according to Mike Herndon of After taking some time to think it over, he finally made the switch. 

This is good for his new team as Russell is the 11th-best defensive tackle in the nation, plus the No. 140 prospect overall, according to 247 Sports' composite rankings.

The most impressive aspect right now is his overwhelming size, standing at 6'3" and 300 pounds. He already has the pure strength to outmuscle almost any offensive linemen his age and shed blocks with ease. 

Additionally, Russell has a great deal of explosiveness off the ball that allows him to burst through the line and penetrate into the backfield. Even when he does not make plays, he can still ruin the offensive game plan.

Of course, there are certainly areas to improve for just about every player coming out of high school, and Russell is no different. Chad Simmons of provides insight on the defensive tackle's weaknesses:

He can improve his pad level though. He pops up a little too quickly at times. He is a better run stopper, but he can get penetration and help collapse the pocket...He can work on his flexibility and his lateral quickness.

Still, most of this is fixable over the next few years with coaching and practice. You cannot teach size or athleticism, which Russell already has plenty of, and this will ensure a great deal of success at the next level.

He even has the potential to play on Sundays if he is willing to put the work in to improve. Until then, he will simply try to help out his new team and try to get on the field as soon as possible. 

Auburn already had a strong recruiting class, but Russell's potential to be an anchor on the defensive side of the ball could make it one of the better classes in the country.

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