CLOSER LOOK: Notre Dame’s Lantz Russell

PHOTO by FRANK PEREZ

Take a closer look at Riverside Notre Dame senior WR Lantz Russell (right) and you’ll see a surprisingly tall player just beginning to realize his potential.

RUSSELL

Russell was a career defensive player but is playing receiver this season at his coach’s request and loving it for the Titans (7-4 overall, 2-1 Sunbelt League), who return to a CIF-Southern Section quarterfinal for the fourth time in five years.

The 6-foot-3 defensive back/receiver had not played offense for Notre Dame before this season, but is the team’s second-leading receiver with 46 catches for 650-plus yards and seven TDs in 2019.

Russell’s frame does fit the receiver mold, and he was the most dangerous offensive threat on the field for either team on the night, making the game his with 64- and 19-yard touchdown receptions.

We caught up with Russell after Notre Dame’s 21-14 victory over Grand Terrace in Week 11 on Friday, Nov. 8. Russell had four receptions for 88 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Titans to a 1st Round victory.

InlandFieldhouse.com: You scored twice in this game – including the game-winning touchdown – what’s it mean for you to come up big in a playoff game?
Lantz Russell: “It means a lot because this is my last year, and I just want to do the best for my teammates. So me getting 14 points on the board really helps.”

IF: How has playing both ways this season changed your game, and what have you had to do to adapt?
EK: “It changes a lot because I never really had to play wide receiver, so when I went out there I just do what I can do to try to help the team out. And it ended up working out tonight.”

IF: Do you like playing offense?
EK: “I like playing offense. I score, so … .”

IF: What did you make of the matchup against Grand Terrace?
EK: “We thought we would find success against the pass because our secondary always does a great job against the pass, but then when they started to run the ball we had to make adjustments to fix that.”

IF: What’s it going to take to get to a CIF semifinal?
EK: “We just got keep focusing. Watch film (and) get in the film room. Build each other.”

IF: Have you thought about playing football after this season?
EK: “Not really, but I’m probably going to start to get into that soon.”

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