#3 Warwick DB Messiah Russell (Photo: Brian Knight/recruit757)
Gardner-Webb taps Warwick for DB/WR Messiah Russell
by Brandon Mitchell, recruit757
Starting defensive back Messiah Russell (2021 DB/WR 6-2 186) continues to keep the Raiders afloat in the recruiting department. The Warwick product has been courted by VMI and James Madison University over the past couple of weeks and sneaking into the conversation on Tuesday afternoon were the Runnin’ Bulldogs of Gardner-Webb. The Runnin’ Bulldogs rummaged the region for
playmaking defensive backs and landed right on the Raiders doorstep.
“Coach Hennigan has been keeping in contact with me,” Russell told recruit757. “He told me to give him a call and we talked about school and how they do some things at Gardner-Webb. He likes me as a person and that was important to them so he wanted to offer me a scholarship.”
Gardner-Webb is a Division I FCS program that resides in the Big South Conference alongside the likes of Monmouth, Kennesaw State, and Hampton University. The Bulldogs finished well below expectations riding a six-game losing streak to conclude the season with a 3-9 record. Gardner-Webb suffered on defensive last season especially in the passing department finishing in the bottom half of the Big South.
Luckily, the Bulldogs don’t have to worry about Russell breaking down his collegiate offer list any time soon. He’ll save his decision making for when he gets the opportunity to hit the road and make a few visits.
“I haven’t really started to break down my list to start taking any schools off,” Russell stated. “I want to try to wait to get up to some of the campuses so I can see how it is when I actually step foot at the school. I want to keep all of my options open because I’ll never know what someone has to offer unless I go and see it for myself. The best way to do that is in person.”
In order to sway Russell, Gardner-Webb will also have to lock horns with: VMI, James Madison, New Hampshire, Sacred Heart, Monmouth, Army, Saint Francis, Bucknell, William and Mary, Norfolk State, and Liberty. This doesn’t include the interest he continues to receive from Wake Forest, Navy, and Georgetown among others.
Despite the preparation of his “Last Dance” taking a hit along with the rest of the upcoming 2021 senior class, Russell has remained in high spirits and has kept his focus on maintaining his mental and physical conditioning.
“I’m bummed out about the weather this week,” Russell explained. “It’s messing up my routine a little. I’ve still been on the same schedule [which involves] working out and going to the field as much as I can. I’ve been good.”
– Brandon Mitchell