Caleb Russell got a huge compliment from the Texas A&M fan base during the program’s spring game on April 16.
He then got even more praise from Aggie coach Mike Sherman following the game capping a spring practice session that has the Midlothian native squarely in the mix for a spot on the depth chart come fall.
Russell was voted by Aggie fans as the 12th Man honoree for the season opener against SMU, meaning he will play on kickoffs while wearing the distinctive No. 12 jersey that is a time honored tradition at the school. It is the second time Russell has received the honor as he played as the 12th Man in 2009 against UAB.
That was just the start of a big day for Russell who picked up a game-high two sacks in the Maroon and White game and drew high marks from Sherman when he spoke with the media.
Sherman compared Russell to recent Aggie graduate Von Miller, who was the second overall pick in the NFL Draft Thursday, and didn’t rule out Russell as potential player who could crack the two-deep chart by the start of the season.
“He had a great spring rushing the quarterback. He’s a unique athlete. He’s not in Von’s category but he’s very similar to Von in that he’s a very explosive, extremely powerful kid. He’s just hasn’t played a whole lot of football. He’s in the learning stages just yet and trying to have discipline with the position,” Sherman said. “But he had a good spring but there’ll be competition throughout the summer and the fall camp and I’m sure the other guys aren’t just going to hand that over to him, they’re going to fight but I would have to say Caleb Russell has had a very good spring.”
Russell, a sophomore walk-on at the joker position, played in eight games last season, recording four tackles and a sack.
That sack came of Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III just hours after learning of his grandmother’s passing in a car accident.
That day is a moment Russell told the media was a “turning point” where he realized he could play at the Division I level.
The spring work has helped Russell’s progression in the Aggie system and could earn him much more playing time this fall.
“The more reps you get the more confident I get. This time last year, the game was just so fast, fast paced,” Russell said. “Getting the chance to get to go in the Baylor game, last year’s game, and be able to see and feel just how fast paced college football is all about and to just adjust to whatever is thrown at you has helped me come into the spring.”
Russell was also honored at the team’s awards banquet prior to the spring game as strength and conditioning coach Dave Kennedy presented him with the defensive Strength and Conditioning Award for his work in the weight room.
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