The Class of 2010 was one of the best of the decade in the Greater Cincinnati area. With such a large crop of talent graduating this May, we begin to look at what players will take over as the stars of the local high school gridiron next season with our series, Rising Stars.
When watching Oak Hills' football it doesn't take long to realize that linebacker Ben Russell is a special talent. He is a tenacious defender with a non-stop motor that never takes a play off. Those skills are starting to get notice by college coaches as well.
The senior-to-be has early offers from Ball State and Akron. Interest for his services is growing heavy. Indiana, Cincinnati and Bowling Green are schools that are high on his priority list.
"The best parts about the schools are them seeing you come in and seeing the schools I like to see me," Russell claimed.
"I like going to their Junior Days to see how the campus and the football facilities are," the linebacker added. "The worst parts are that the interest is coming so quickly it is a little overwhelming. Overall though, I would definitely say this is big plus for me."
Russell is a two-sport star for the Highlanders, he also excels in baseball. That won't affect his decision when it comes to choosing a where he plays at the next level.
"My heart is in football and that is what I want to play in college. Two sports will be hard on the schooling so I will stick to football in college," Russell said.
There is room to grow and get better so this offseason the linebacker will concentrate on working in the weight room and running more to build stamina and get faster.
Speed is has not an issue when he is in pads. His Rivals.com highlight video includes very impressive plays of him tracking down LSU-bound Spencer Ware and Colerain tailback Tyler Williams from behind for touchdown saving tackles. It's the kind of stuff that leave scouts drooling over his on-the-field tools. The thing you like about this Highlander is how he studies his peers.
"I look up to Ray Lewis because of his fierceness and competitiveness. In the high school world, I try to be as good as the other top linebackers around the city such as Jarrett Grace (Colerain), Steven Daniels (St. Xavier), Trey DePriest (Springfield), and Jordan Hicks (Lakota West/Texas)," Russell stated. I try working to be as good as them".
His game doesn't take a backseat to any of the aforementioned high school standouts.
Oak Hills has had a tough time over Russell's first two varsity seasons, going 6-14 with just two league wins. However, things are looking up in 2010 with a great core returning on defense.
"People need to know that the Highlanders are on the rise and we are trying to build ourselves up to be a top GMC contender. We are very dedicated to the sport and are planning on having a great season," Russell exclaimed. "We are going to be successful being the best we can and to prove everyone wrong about us."
FINAL TAKE: Russell is worth the price of admission on Friday night. He is an absolute joy to watch in action. His best days are still ahead of him and in the right situation he has a chance to be a star on Saturdays after his high school days are over. The sky is the limit for Russell. He undoubtedly is setting the bar very high for those who follow behind him.