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David Krueger and Herald staff | dkrueger@heraldnet.com
Published: Monday, October 1, 2012, 8:06 p.m.

KeiVarae showing his 'swagger' at Notre Dame

  • Notre Dame cornerback KeiVarae Russell (6) and wide receiver Davonte' Neal (19) celebrate after the beat Purdue 20-17 in an NCAA college football game...

    AP

    Notre Dame cornerback KeiVarae Russell (6) and wide receiver Davonte' Neal (19) celebrate after the beat Purdue 20-17 in an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame is off to its best start in a decade and there is some real buzz around the storied program and coach Brian Kelly.

Former Mariner RB/DB KeiVarae Russell doesn't seem to have changed much since leaving the Northwest for Notre Dame.

The Fighting Irish freshman cornerback, who switched to full-time cornerback from running back prior to this season, still has the swagger that made him a fun-loving high school player and a great interview when he played in Wesco over the past four seasons.

Here's an excerpt from a story by South Bend Tribune's Al Lesar:

"That initial moment, (Lo) is like a brother; (when he got hurt) I was emotional," Russell said. "Lo helped me out every single day. When he went down, it was like a mentor going down. That hurt me.

"A couple days later, when (cornerbacks coach Kerry Cooks) told me in the film room I was going to start, I said, 'Uh oh, now it's time to step up. Raise the bar.'"

Russell hardly had time to take a deep breath before he had to deal with a hiccup.

Early in the third quarter of the opening win over Navy, Russell was torched on a 25-yard touchdown pass.

"The first couple plays (of the Navy game) were very nerve-wracking," said Russell, a mile-a-minute talker who barely takes time to inhale between sentences. "I calmed down once I got the feel of the game.

"(The swagger) always came to me through high school and Little League football. That first game, when I allowed that touchdown against Navy, I was kind of down on myself. Coaches said, 'Man, you're playing corner. It's going to happen.'

"After that, I was changed. I kept smiling. 'Let's erase that play and move on to the next one.'"

It has been a positive movement ever since. In four games, Russell has piled up 10 tackles. He had one of the five interceptions in the win over Michigan.


For the full story, click here.

Also here's a video of Russell being interviewed about his converting from running back to cornerback.

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Story tags » Mariner High SchoolHigh School Football

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