Landing 4-star defensive tackle Dontavious Russell is a huge step in the right direction for Mark Richt and the Georgia Bulldogs when it comes to in-state recruiting.
Russell would be a major pickup for the Bulldogs even if he was an out-of-state recruit, but the fact that he's from the state of Georgia makes this commitment even more important.
Jake Rowe of UGASports.com reports on the commitment:
The Georgia coaching staff came into the 2014 recruiting class with a big need on the defensive line, and the Bulldogs made a big step in the right direction on Monday when Carrollton defensive tackle Dontavius Russell decided to become Georgia's fourth commitment of the current class.
"I committed to Georgia today," Russell told UGASports in a telephone interview Monday evening.
Russell also talked about his recruitment being over now that he's committed. Per Rowe:
Russell says that it is no accident that he decided to commit early and that his pledge ends his recruitment.
"I'm done," he said. "I just wanted to go ahead and get it over with so I can focus on the next year coming up. I don't want to think about it much more than that."
This is a commitment that both the Georgia fans and staff have to feel very good about.
Russell is a talented recruit. His ranking backs this up, as do his measurables. He's 6'3', 300 pounds and runs a 5.20 40-yard dash according to 247Sports, which is great for a player of his size.
He has the size and speed to be a big-time nose tackle in Georgia's defense, and it wouldn't be surprising if he could slide over to end because of his speed.
That said, because of his size, he projects to be a great 0-technique. He'll be able to control both A-gaps and will even be effective as a pass rusher.
The big sub-story from this commitment will be the fact that Richt and his staff were finally able to land a big in-state recruit. That's not to say that Georgia hasn't recruited in-state before, but it has been rather obvious that elite players from the state were electing to go elsewhere.
To that point, eight out of the top 10 players from the state of Georgia decided to leave the state in 2013—a few of which were considering UGA. 5-star defensive tackle Montravius Adams committed to Auburn over Georgia and 4-star running back Alvin Kamara committed to Alabama over Georgia.
In-state recruiting is crucial for the growth and sustained success of a program, so getting back on track within Georgia is big for Richt.
Russell has the potential to be extremely good and he seems dedicated to the Bulldogs' cause. That's the type of player Georgia is going to need if it wants to remain a contender within the ultra-competitive SEC conference, and perhaps even push for a national championship in the near future.