Fighting Irish Fans Expect Great Season From KeiVarae Russell


Notre Dame’s secondary is bolstered by the return of Cornerback KeiVarae Russell

Notre Dame’s August football camp is well underway and it’s special to notice the return of a prodigal son, Cornerback KeiVarae Russell. Russell, a senior who started at Cornerback during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. He is back after being suspended for the 2014 season for academic reasons.

Russell’s story is a very interesting one. The 5’11” 195 pound native of Everett, Washington, was a highly recruited Running Back at Mariner High School He gained 1,243 yards on 177 attempts even though he missed three games as a senior. He was first-team All State by Associated Press. 247 Sports rated him as the 3rd best player in Washington. KeiVarae was rated 124th on the Rivals 250 list. He also rated as the 138th player in his class by Max Preps.   The crowning award to his high school career was being selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio.

Russell signed with Notre Dame’s class of 2012. Before the season started, Lo Wood, who projected to be a starting Cornerback, suffered a season ending Achilles  injury. Russell was asked to switch from Running Back to Cornerback. He started every game during that glorious season. He played well enough to be selected to the All-American Freshman team by the Football Writers Association of America, the Sporting News and

KeiVarae had an exceptional statistical year. He had 58 tackles, with 37 being solo ones and had two interceptions. He had five tackles in his first game against Navy, got his first interception a few weeks later against Michigan. For a true freshman, KeiVarae had tremendous coverage skills and improved as the season went on. When the Fighting Irish defeated Oklahoma, KeiVarae had nine tackles of which six were solos. He ended the regular reason against Southern Cal with three tackles and an interception.

In Russell’s sophomore season, he again started all 13 games. He had 51 tackles, including 40 solo stops, one interception, one fumble recovery, and eight pass breakups. He had a season high seven tackles against Brigham Young. He also had six tackles and a fumble recovery in a victory over Air Force. KeiVarae ended the season with two tackles, three pass breakups, and an interception in Notre Dame’s victory over Rutgers in the 2013 New Era Pinstripe Bowl.

During the summer of 2014, KeiVarae was one of five football players suspended by Notre Dame. At first, he was bitter about the decision. Each football player suspended was allowed to appear at the school’s honesty committee to plead their case. KeiVarae stated that he “killed my meeting” meaning he thought his answers refuted the allegations. Unfortunately, he remained suspended.

KeiVarae has been very optimistic since he returned to school earlier this summer. He is elated to be back with his teammates and is impressed with Brian VanGarder’s defensive concepts. In most cases, he will guard the opponents’ best receiver. With his size and speed, and his improvement from his Freshman to Sophomore seasons, he will play a large role in the Fighting Irish defense this season.

Next: Top 2016 Athlete Schedules Official Visit To Notre Dame