Mother knows best for Russell, Sooners

It didn’t matter that much that Oklahoma could offer junior college defensive tackle Quincy Russell (Athens, Texas/Trinity Valley) immediate playing time.

It didn’t really matter that playing at OU would give Russell a chance to go against Texas in the Red River Rivalry. Russell originally signed with the Longhorns in 2011.

It didn’t matter that his juco teammate four-star ESPN JC 100 offensive tackle Josiah St. John has committed to the Sooners.

None of the above was a big factor in Russell signing with OU last month. There was one big factor, though.

“My mom. It was all about my mom,” Russell said. “I was telling the OU and Nebraska coaches that they don’t have to really convince me. They have to convince my mom. OU did a better job of doing that.”

Russell, a three-star prospect who is 6-foot-4 and 308 pounds, is ranked No. 54 in the ESPN JC 100 and looked like he was a Nebraska lean heading into junior college signing period.

He said that was never the case. It has been 50-50 between OU and Nebraska for a long time. It wasn’t until the morning of Dec. 19, the first day of the signing period, when he finally knew he wanted to be a Sooner.

Everything happened so fast that morning he said he never got a chance to talk to any of the coaches. Following his announcement, his phone blew up the rest of the day. Eventually it was OU coaches Jackie Shipp and Bob Stoops that got in contact with Russell’s mother.

“I’m excited about playing with Quincy again,” St. John said. “I know what he’s capable of and how much he can help out the program.”

And the Sooners definitely need help at the defensive tackle position. But the allure of starting during his first season really didn’t make OU pop out more to Russell. He said any school going the juco route for a defensive tackle is looking for an immediate impact.

The tradition, though, did speak to Russell.

“They win championships,” Russell said. “They win conference championships. They win national championships. That winning tradition means a lot.”

Some recruits are giddy when announcing their commitment, not Russell. He is past that stage. He might have felt that when he was going to Texas but that was a long time ago.

This wasn’t a rash decision based on emotion. This was a business decision.

“When I was younger, I don’t think I was fully aware of what I was going through,” Russell said. “Now I understand it’s a business. I needed to go where I feel I can put myself in the best position to succeed.”

Russell made official visits to OU and Nebraska. There wasn’t much separating the two schools. There were some things he liked more in Norman than in Lincoln and vice versa.

But what he did see from the Sooners was their fighting spirit.

Bedlam rival Oklahoma State was up 14-0 before OU rallied to win 51-48 in overtime.

“I saw a defense that didn’t quit,” Russell said. “I saw a defense that I know I can make a big difference when I’m in the middle.”

The initial signing day madness didn’t let Russell to fully embrace being part of the Sooners. But he had a talk with Shipp the next week.

“We were breaking down film and talking about the spring. It definitely did make it feel a little more real to me,” Russell said.

Russell said he was also considering SEC schools. But like a lot of juco products, he was ineligible for any SEC schools because his online math credit wouldn’t transfer. That’s fine now because he has a home at OU and is ready to start now.

“It is finally over,” Russell said. “I can’t wait to get to Norman and get to work.”