Posted: 2:06 pm Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Former Dwyer running back Donald Russell leaves Kentucky 

By Matt Porter

Former Dwyer running back Donald Russell is looking for a place to play.

Russell carries the ball in UK's spring game. (AP)

Russell carries the ball in UK's spring game. (AP)

Russell, a sophomore at Kentucky, was granted his release from the school in early December.

Dwyer coach Jack Daniels said Central Florida is an option for Russell, and that he planned to contact Florida Atlantic and Florida International.

“He had [interest from] some other Division 1 schools that were out-of-state, but he wants to stay in-state,” Dwyer coach Daniels said.

Miami showed interest, but that’s up in the air with wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill leaving for Florida. Daniels and Hill had spoken about Russell.

When Russell committed in Jan., 2009, he chose Kentucky over Southern Mississippi, Rutgers and USF.

Daniels said Russell, who was a All-Area Large Schools honorable mention as a senior in 2009, didn’t see a future in Lexington. Russell impressed UK coaches in the spring and vaulted himself into the No. 2 tailback slot, but was surpassed on the depth chart.

“They switched to more of a spread offense, and he’s more of an I-back,” Daniels said. “He was having a good season and getting stuff done. He did all they asked. He didn’t feel like he was getting a fair shake in the new offense.”

Here’s what the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader wrote about Russell when he was given his release:

The 5-foot-11, 209-pound Russell showed promise at times.

He rushed for 137 yards in mop-up time as a true freshman last year and entered the season as the No. 2 back behind starter Derrick Locke But Russell eventually was passed for the backup position by true freshman Raymond Sanders, and his playing time dwindled. He had just one carry in a 38-20 win over Vanderbilt and didn’t play in the regular-season-ending 24-14 loss at Tennessee.

Russell finished the season with 64 carries for 293 yards and two TDs and also caught 14 passes for 134 yards.