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December 27, 2013
Rivals250 DT, Auburn legacy commits
Rivals250 Carrollton (Ga.) defensive tackle Dontavius Russell has committed to Auburn.
The former Georgia commit becomes Auburn's 21st commitment and tenth four-star commitment.
"There wasn't a specific reason why I wanted to announce today. I just wanted to get it out in the open. I didn't want to wait any longer," Russell told AuburnSports.com. "Every time that I have visited Auburn, I felt like that is where I should be. Even though I had committed to Georgia I would have felt bad not going to the school I have been cheering for since I was a little kid.
"It feels good to get the chance to play for my childhood favorite. Everyone was so surprised when I had picked Georgia at first because they knew I loved Auburn. They were shocked."
Russell de-committed from Georgia earlier this month.
"It was a hard decision just because I didn't want to go against my word. As far as thinking I made a mistake, not at all. Auburn is where I want to be," said Russell.
The 6-foot-3, 298-pound Russell is the nation's No. 13 defensive tackle and No. 207 overall prospect. Russell committed to Auburn over offers from Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Clemson, USC, Stanford and a host of others.
Russell's uncle, Dennis Wallace, played safety for Auburn in the late 1980's. Wallace's teammate at Auburn was current Tigers' defensive line coach Rodney Garner, who recruited Russell to the Plains.
"My uncle always told me he didn't care where I went. I decided I wanted to play for Auburn awhile ago, I just didn't say anything. My uncle got really excited when I told him that I wanted to play there. He never pressured me, but he was excited," Russell said.
"I talk to Coach Garner at least once every other week. He calls me and we talk on the phone about lots of things. He has been to my home and everything like that. He is a great coach. I'm excited."
Auburn's historic turnaround from a winless conference record last season to playing for the BCS National Championship has made a considerable impact on numerous prospects, but Russell isn't one of them.
"I'm glad that they are having a great season, but I knew I wanted to play for them no matter what for the most part," said Russell. "I didn't want to go to school where I would be sad if they lost. I wanted to find a school that I could be happy winning or losing."
Auburn's class ranks No. 8 nationally. Six commits, including Russell, will play in the Under Armour All-American Game, with one playing in the Army All-American Game.
"I am excited to play with other top players," said Russell. "I want competition and I'll get that Auburn. I just want to contribute as much as possible. Wherever it is needed. That's what I tried to do in high school and that's what I will do at Auburn. I want to contribute anyway I can.
"All I can say is War Eagle."
Managing Editor Justin Hokanson and staff writer Allie Davison contributed to this report.