By Otis Kirk

FAYETTEVILLE — Benton four-star running back Braylen Russell was among the recruits attending Arkansas’ final recruiting event prior to the 2022 football season.

Russell, 6-2, 230, has been to Arkansas numerous times and provided feedback on how Saturday’s event went for him.

“It was fun,” Russell said. “It’s always fun when I come down here.”

Russell enjoyed seeing Sam Pittman again on Saturday. When asked about the highlight of the visit Russell had a simple answer.

“Getting to talk to Coach Pittman again,” Russell said. “Getting to talk to my running back coach Jimmy (Smith), it’s always fun to talk to him. It’s like family down here.”

Russell committed to Arkansas on Nov. 6 while still at Hot Springs Lakeside. On Friday he took a trip to Ole Miss. He was asked if anything had changed about his commitment status to Arkansas?

“I’m still firm with my decision,” Russell said. “Just having some fun and being a kid while I can.”

Not only is he solid to the Hogs, he recruited Waco (Texas) Connally four-star cornerback Kobe Black on Saturday to join him at Arkansas.

“Trying to get him to come to the hill.” Russell said. “It’s going to be fun down here. Fun down here to play with us, fun experience. It’s fun to play in front of all the fans.”

Russell remains the first commitment for Arkansas in the Class of 2024. He talked about how it has been for him since he pledged to play for the Razorbacks.

“To be the first in 24 like all the stuff I get from other people,” Russell said. “It’s really good. We’ve got big Hog fans. When I committed everyone showed love and support for me.”

Who else you recruiting for 2024?

“I really haven’t seen too many 24’s recently because I’ve been trying to get to my other school at Benton High School,” Russell said. “But when I find them I’m definitely going to hit them up and tell them to come to the hill.”

Russell showed up to Arkansas with a cast on his foot. He talked about what happened and how long he will have to wear the cast.

“I tore ligaments from my big toe,” Russell said. “It’s not my whole foot just my big toe. I will be full speed two weeks from now. Go rehab and get back full strength so I can come back from for my first game.

“I get the cast off next week and then start preparing for Bryant and the Salt Bowl.”

He joined the Panthers after previously playing for the Rams at Lakeside. How has the move been?

“It has been really good,” Russell said. “It has been an easy transition for me and my family.”

The Salt Bowl is played at War Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 27. It’s a game that Bryant has dominated in recent years.

“It’s going to be a big game,” Russell said. “We’re looking to go down and change that.”

As a sophomore, Russell rushed 141 times for 823 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also caught 24 passes for 382 yards and three touchdowns.