5-Star Edge Qua Russaw Commits to Alabama Over Auburn, Florida, Georgia, More

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVDecember 21, 2022

Photo credit: Jason Caldwell, 247Sports

Highly touted edge defender Qua Russaw made his decision, committing to Alabama on Wednesday.

"It was a long thought process, and I just had to make a decision at the end," he said of his choice to On3's Chad Simmons. "And I think I'll put myself in the best situation by going to Alabama. Everybody loves Alabama in the state, and I've just always come back to Alabama."

The Montgomery, Alabama, native is the No. 22 overall recruit and ranks third at his position in 247Sports' composite rankings for the 2023 class.

247Sports' Cooper Petagna evaluated Russaw in January and wrote the 6'2", 230-pound defender is likely to see time as both a pure pass-rusher and an off-ball linebacker:

"Quick twitch explosive off the line of scrimmage. Compensates for lack of length on the edge with play strength and ability to play with power. Demonstrates heavy hands at the point of attack. Shows the ability to generate consistent pass-rush with initial quickness, play strength, and motor. Plays with excellent range and closing speed off the ball, displaying a violence at the point of attack."

Russaw is one of two notable defensive standouts at Carver High School.

Defensive lineman James Smith sits 18th overall in 247Sports' composite rankings. On3's Peter Warren noted in June the pair were "taking many of their visits together and may end up as a package deal at the next level."

Smith is joining Russaw in Tuscaloosa.

Despite sharing the same field as Smith, Russaw didn't have much trouble commanding the spotlight. He finished with an eye-popping 130 tackles, 27.5 tackles for loss and 16 sacks during his junior campaign.

Not surprisingly, Russaw wasn't lacking for interest from elite Power Five programs. Alabama, Auburn, Texas A&M, Florida, Clemson, USC, Ole Miss and LSU were all among the schools to offer him a scholarship.

Early on, his versatility should go a long way toward getting him on the field regularly with the Crimson Tide. Head coach Nick Saban will feel comfortable inserting him in a few different roles on defense, and Petagna noted special teams is an area in which he can contribute, too.

Right now, Russaw doesn't profile as an Aidan Hutchinson or Will Anderson-style pass-rusher who wreaks havoc on seemingly every passing down. But his sack total from 2021 at Carver speaks for itself. He should grow into a valuable linebacker in Alabama's scheme.