BENTON, Ark. – As the first and still the only commit of Arkansas’ 2024 class, an in-state running back phenom enters his junior season at a new school. Moving in from Lakeside to Benton, Braylen Russell is out to show why he’s received comparisons to Razorbacks legend Darren McFadden.
“I take pride in it, being the first commit from my home state,” Russell said. “I can be the dude there at Arkansas. I have breakaway speed, get big runs, I’m a big power back, and fast.”
“Braylen’s every bit of 6’2, 230 pounds,” Benton head coach Brad Harris said. “He’s a big, thick guy who moves well. I think the sky’s the limit for this guy. He’s one of the most talented kids I’ve gotten to coach in my 25 year career.”
After impressing at an Arkansas camp in summer of 2021, Sam Pittman extended an offer to the then rising sophomore. Russell later pledged to the Hogs that November. While the projected 4-star has since received offers from Ole Miss and Tennessee, with more Power Five interest on the way, Benton’s star tailback remains firmly committed and looks forward to competing on the Hill.
“Being first in rushing in the SEC, they use all their running backs,” Russell said. “If you’re big, you’re fast, you can run, and you can make plays, they’re going to put you in there.”
While splitting the backfield in his sophomore season at Lakeside, Russell averaged over 100 yards from scrimmage, totaling 15 touchdowns, and proved why he’s gained SEC attention. Now at Benton, he looks to bring his game to the next level as maybe the state’s best offensive weapon at
“He’s an every-down back,” Harris said. “He can run it and he can catch it. Through 7-on-7 this summer we’ve flexed him out and he runs really great routes.”
“I want to be like Deebo,” Russell said referencing San Francisco 49ers hybrid Deebo Samuel. “He can go to the side, get in the flats, and catch the ball. He can run it and be that running back that gets that extra yard.”
Hear more from Benton running back Braylen Russell and head coach Brad Harris in Nick Walters’ story here or on Final Score, Sunday nights at 10.