Ryan Russell: Number 4 Most Important Player/Unit


Ryan Russell has the potential to be the next great defensive end at Purdue. He was hampered by an ankle injury for the majority of last season before exploding onto the scene by the end. As a freshman he had 33 tackles (4.5 for loss), 1 sack, 3 forced fumbles, and 3 fumble recoveries. I’d say a pretty good season for an injured freshman adjusting to the college game.

Russell may be the most important piece to the defensive line this year. While Kawann Short is the best player, he is going to produce no matter what. If Russell takes the next step in his development, it could prevent teams from double teaming Short every single play.

One thing Russell needs to work on is his strength. He has the agility and speed  to the point where he could drop back into pass coverage if he needs to; kind of like Gerald Gooden did last year in the Little Caesers Bowl. With the added strength he will be able to add a new repertoire of moves to the speed ones he currently has.

As only a sophomore, there’s no doubt Russell could have a bright future. A good season by him could turn a good defensive line into a special one. Hopefully he shows he belongs in the Den of Defensive Ends.