On April 10th, West Virginia gained another commitment in the 2021 class with the addition of Hammond Russell of Dublin Coffman High School in Dublin, Ohio.
Since making his decision to become a Mountaineer, Russell has been able to focus on his workouts that he posts sporadically on Twitter and doesn't have to worry about sifting through his offers, constantly contemplating where he should go.
"Ever since I committed, I’ve been very stress free. I already knew it was my home, but I was just worried about like letting other teams down but everyone had their chance and no one could do anything to match the feeling I had for West Virginia," Russell told Mountaineer Maven.
As usual, the West Virginia fan base has showered him with love since his announcement and Russell said that he feels grateful for them and has been an overwhelming welcome.
"The fans here are awesome and I love them. They show so much love to the team and it is great to have a good fan base around your team and they're definitely loyal, passionate fans."
One thing a lot of people don't realize is that when a player commits, the recruitment doesn't stop for that player. Other schools are going to continue to offer and try to lure him away from West Virginia, which means the Mountaineer coaching staff has to do their due diligence and keep "recruiting" him as hard as they were prior to his decision.
Russell says that his bond with the coaching staff has continued to grow and he has a lot of trust in this staff's abilities. He believes the staff has things trending in the right direction in big ways. Not just making bowl games and registering winning seasons again - Russell is thinking big.
"My relationship with coaches has grown a lot and it is great. I feel like we’re building something special and I’m happy to be apart of it. I love the team and the coaches because they are really trying to make us great and I can’t wait for us to all get together and play for the coaches and each other. I will forever love Morgantown. The coaching staff is building something different and I believe that we could win some Big 12 championships and some natty's with the right pieces, so I’m willing to get whoever we need to be great."
Also since officially putting an "end" to his recruitment, Russell has turned himself from being the recruitee to the recruiter. If you already follow Russell on Twitter, you've probably already noticed him trying to show love to other recruits to get them to potentially commit to West Virginia. He will tweet at them, tell them why West Virginia is a good place for them and has even more of those discussions via DM or text.
"What I mostly tell them is like look, the coaches are building something different, we will win big games, we will beat Oklahoma, Texas, Baylor and the other teams because we believe in the coaches and they are dedicated to making us better players and better men," Russell said. He says that he has been in contact with several recruits over the last month and some of which are West Virginia's top targets. "I’ve been recruiting a few guys like Kaden Prather, Dink Jackson, and a few other players."
Aside from trying to bring some other top prospects to West Virginia in the 2021 class, Russell has made the effort to become close with those who were previously committed and has become really tight with one of the most recent commits.
"The relationship with [commits] is awesome. I’ve grown close to everyone honestly. Treylan Davis is probably who I am the closest with, that’s my guy."
With the spread of coronavirus over the last several months, it has forced players to adapt to new ways of working out. Gyms were closed for months and it's not very common that a recruit has every piece of workout equipment he needs to get a full workout in. For Russell, he has been using his creative mind by using milk crates to do squats.
Russell does have access to some equipment though, and has essentially turned his backyard into an outdoor gym to ensure that he is still putting in the work.
I'm not sure there is anyone who is more excited for the upcoming season to start than Hammond Russell. He has been chomping at the bit and is ready to show the Mountaineer fan base what he will be bringing to Morgantown in the fall of 2021.
Russell is "100-percent" committed to West Virginia and his passion for the Mountaineer program is transparent.
You can follow us for future coverage by clicking "Follow" on the top righthand corner of the page. Also, be sure to like us on Facebook & Twitter:
Facebook - @WVUonSI