Archived Story

Follow the Leader

Published 1:46pm Thursday, August 15, 2013

As the heart and soul of the Benjamin Russell defense, senior linebacker Tabias Russell has seen just about everything, good and bad.
As a freshman, he saw BRHS’ 1-9 season. As a sophomore, he saw the Wildcats’ 7-5 season. As a junior he saw the team’s 11-2 season.
Now entering his fourth year of starting, Russell is now able to draw upon those experiences as he lines up to help lead another Wildcats push toward Class 5A supremacy.
“It’s motivated me a lot,” Russell said. “I’ve seen where we’ve been, and every year we’ve taken that next step.”
But the run stopper isn’t satisfied with that. Russell knows there is one more level for Benjamin Russell, and he said in order to reach it, it has to be a team effort.
“I want to get better, and I want my teammates to get better,” he said. “We have to get better as one.”
Individually, there’s not much else Russell can do to get better.
He’s as experienced as it gets and has led the team in tackles for the past two seasons.
Last year, he put up 83 tackles (eight for loss) with two sacks, a pick and a forced fumble.
However, that hasn’t stopped him from fine-tuning his game.
“I’ve been to a couple  of camps, and I’ve just been learning from the college coaches,” he said. “I’m still working on my footwork and my tackling.”
Consistent improvement has been the theme for Russell thus far.
In addition to making himself a more formidable player and getting stronger, as evidenced by his 330-pound max bench press and 585-pound max squat, he’s grown to embrace his role as the defensive leader.
Being the voice of that side of the ball isn’t a responsibility he’s taking lightly, either.
“I lead by example, but I’m trying to be a little more vocal, too,” Russell said. I’m not trying to just be all talk, though. I want to be about it all.”
Even if that means stepping up on the offensive side of the ball when called upon, Russell has every intention on being the team’s rock.
“I’ll help the team any way I can,” he said. “If that’s on offense, so be it.”
But it’s pretty obvious where Russell’s preferences lie.
Built like a tank with an intimidating stare and considerable production to match, Russell is ready to devastate offenses of all kinds as the Wildcats.
“Defense is where I want to be,” he said. “I consider myself a wrecking ball or a freight train on defense.” “I like to hit. Any way I can, I like to hit.”
Russell’s goals this year aren’t gaudy stats, although precedent suggests he’ll put them up.
It’s not about landing at a good college, despite drawing interest from many schools.
For the Wildcats’ wrecking ball, it’s all about winning.
“Coming from 1-9, 7-5 and 11-2, it would mean a lot if we won the championship this year,” Russell said. “It seems like every year we push harder, and we’re striving to get to that next level.”
That next level is a very real possibility for the Wildcats. If you ask Russell, Benjamin Russell holds its destiny in its own hands. All the Wildcats have to do is leave it all on the field every Friday night.
“I want us to get better every game,” he said. “I want us to come out hard, play even harder and play as a team because we want to go to State. We have to play as hard as we can, and whatever happens, happens.”
If the team follows Russell’s lead, chances are good things will happen for the Wildcats this season.
And bad things will happen to their opponents.
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.