Add Notre Dame cornerback KeiVarae Russell to the growing list of underclassmen opting to enter the NFL Draft this spring. The junior defensive back from Notre Dame announced his decision to turn pro through an interview with Sports Illustrated‘s Pete Thamel, which was published Monday.
In the SI story, Russell says he made the decision to declare for the NFL Draft regardless of the decision by the NCAA regarding a year of eligibility. Russell missed the 2014 season due to a violation of Notre Dame’s honor code, which also saw a handful of other players from the Fighting Irish miss playing time as well. Russell returned to the team this season but missed the final two games of the year after suffering a broken tibia against Boston College. He does not expect to participate in any combine activities at the NFL Scouting Combine later this year leading up to the NFL Draft.
“I’m back on track as far as progressing as a player,” Russell said. “I’m ready to fulfill my dream and help out my family and do other things I wanted to do in my life.”
Russell is scheduled to graduate from Notre Dame in one more semester, this despite having to attend classes at a community college following his honor code violation for academic integrity.
Russell joins fellow Irish players C.J. Prosise and Will Fuller as underclassmen to declare a year early for the NFL Draft. Keith Arnold of our sister site Inside the Irish posted an interesting though following the Fuller news yesterday…
Arnold was referring to Notre Dame linebacker Jaylen Smith , who suffered a severe knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State. Smith’s injury is a reminder that a devastating injury can occur at any time, and that can convince some talented college players to test the NFL waters as early as possible.