Trading in his Tiger stripes for a dog tag, Shaquille Russell penned his name Thursday to a scholarship to play football at Concordia University, a private Christian University in Nebraska.
Russell said he hopes to start in the middle linebacker spot and have some time on the field as a defensive end for the Great Plains Athletic Conference school.
The team and school are looking to turn around a 1-9 season in 2008 under the guidance of new head coach Vance Winter.
Russell made the All-Region first team in 2008 and 2007, leading the Tiger defense to a 7-3 season in 2008 and a second-round post-season game.
Tiger football coach John Walsh Jr., said Russell has a great opportunity to play the game he loves but, more importantly, pursue a degree.
Russell’s father, Edward Russell, agreed with Walsh.
"More importantly, it’s about getting to school and getting the degree and playing a little football while he’s there."
"It’s a great school and I love the community," Shaquille Russell said after signing. "It’s also a Christian school, which will help me to stay focused."
Edward Russell said he credits Walsh and the Tigers’ coaching staff in helping his son stay focused in high school.
A two-sport athlete, Russell is also the Tigers’ top discus thrower in track. Last year, he finished eighth in the state with a distance of 138’1."
His parents said they’ve spoken with the track coach at Concordia and there is talk about signing him to their team as well.
"I’m so excited but most of all, I’m happy he is going to get his chance to do what he wanted to do," Russell’s mother, Angie, said.
"It’s a great day for his family, a great day for the community and a great day for our school," Walsh said.