The total packagePublished 9:00am Wednesday, August 14, 2013
It seems that these days, every Tigers’ football team needs a honey badger.
For LSU, that was Tyrann Mathieu. For Dadeville, that defender is Tamarcus Russell.
He is probably a bit heavier than Mathieu, but from the mindset, to the playing style and the blonde-tipped hair, Russell is ready to disrupt any and all offenses.
“Oh yeah, I’m the badger,” Russell said with a laugh.
Dadeville’s explosive inside linebacker has been a part of some of the most dominant Tiger squads in recent memory, but as the senior enters 2013, there’s a sense of urgency as Dadeville prepares to make another run toward a possible 4A crown.
This year, the theme for Russell is finishing.
“This is my last shot at it, and I’m trying to make the most of it,” Russell said.
Russell has started for the Tigers for the past two seasons.
In his first year on top of the depth chart, he racked up 80 tackles.
He also showed a nose for the ball, as evidenced by his three picks that season.
Since then, Russell, whose max bench press comes in at 280 pounds and has a max squat of 530 pounds, has transformed from a great player to a great linebacker by becoming more mindful of mastering his position on the field.
“Last year, I learned the basics of playing the linebacker position,” he said. “I’m going to carry that over into this season.”
With a mental edge to match his frenzied play, Russell has embraced his role not only as a run-stuffing torpedo, but also as a leader to the younger Tigers on the squad as he works to become a complete player.
One thing he’s stressed to them is paying attention to the details.
“I’m getting on the freshmen and sophomores a lot more, whether it’s making sure they’re doing their job or getting the tackling dummies off the field,” Russell said. “I’m just making sure that they do the small things. They may be the small things, but they matter.”
The only other thing that matters to Russell, who has drawn some interest from Missouri, is raising the Class 4A state championship.
“I don’t really have any individual goals,” he said. “I’m trying to help us win that state championship. It’s all about the team.”
He’s also aware that he’s a key cog to the team’s success.
As a result, Russell is looking to mesh his playmaking ability with his ability to stuff ball carriers.
“I consider myself a playmaker, so I’m trying to get some forced fumbles, some fumble recoveries and more interceptions,” Russell said. “I’m trying to do it all, and I’ll do whatever it takes to help my team. I want to make game-changing plays. Last year at Tallassee, I came off the edge and made a huge play in the backfield. I want to make more plays like that because I consider myself a clutch player.”
However, football is a team game and as far as Russell is concerned the Tigers have to play better and harder than they ever have.Dadeville to reach the pinnacle.
According to Russell, it all starts in practice.
“We need to go harder than we have in any past year, and I think we’re doing that,” he said. “We have to work harder. We have to run longer. We have to sprint farther. We’re a hardened team, and we have to play like it. Then, we have to take what we do in practice into the games. After all, practice makes perfect.”
For Russell, this year is the year for the Tigers to make a statement.
It’s also the time for Russell to serve notice as well.
He has already served notice to opponents of his intentions when he lines up across from them.
Those plans are simple: Get to the ball and make things happen.
“When I come, I’m going to take what I want,” Russell said.
See The Outlook throughout the month of August for player profiles of The Outlook’s Super 12 team leading to the kickoff of the 2013 season.