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Visiting Coach Brian Russell with his 4-Star QB Son Keelon Russell and the Rebels | “Ole Miss has that SWAG and energy now.”

OXFORD, ma’am. — Behind every great recruit is usually a strong support system that helps them navigate one of the most challenging times of their lives. That is certainly the case four-star QB Kelon Russell from Duncanville High School in Texas.

(Click here to read our interview with Keelon about his visit to Ole Miss.)

Keelon has become one of the most talked-about signal callers of 2025, but despite all the attention paid to his recruitment, he remains focused and, above all, humble. That starts at home with a family that knows a lot about football.

The SMU commit and his family were in Oxford last week, and when we visited Keelon afterwards we thought it would be interesting to get some insight from his father too, Coach Brian Russellabout the visit to the ‘Sip and more.

It’s a unique situation for Coach Russell, to say the least. He coaches at DeSoto High School, one of Duncanville’s heated rivals, as well as another powerhouse program in the state of Texas.

Both Duncanville in 6A Division 1 and DeSoto in 6A Division 2 are coming off back-to-back state championship games in Texas. And one week a year the house is divided and the Russell men compete against each other.

The backstory

“I have been coaching football and basketball for 21 years now,” said coach Russell. “Basketball is my main sport and I am the Associate Head Coach at DeSoto High School. I grew up in Hobbs, New Mexico, where I played basketball.

We asked the elder Russell about the showdown between DeSoto and Duncanville, a game won by DeSoto this past season.

“It was very strange running into him on Friday night because I coach at rival DeSoto,” coach Russell explained. The week leading up to the game is really weird because it’s a house divided. This journey has been amazing to see his development and passion to be the best.”

Visiting Ole Miss

We wanted to know what coach Russell thought about the family’s recent visit to Oxford and what stood out to him.

The atmosphere at Ole Miss in the community and coaching staff is electric. It’s similar to the movement about 8-10 years ago when Oregon released all the jersey combos and people were so excited about Oregon. I feel like Ole Miss has that SWAG and energy now. The dominant performance in the portal and the top 5 ranking has everyone excited about next year.

Coach Russell on the Rebels

We wanted to know from a coach’s perspective what it says about how Ole Miss continues to recruit Keelon.

I really admire (offensive coordinator) Coach (Charlie) Weiss and his ability to see Keelon’s talent well before the rest of the country did. They were sold to us and were not influenced by the rankings of higher ranked children. We came down and they saw him throw in person and they walked away saying he’s better than a lot of the kids who scored higher than him. The staff calls and texts him weekly, so that the relationship about football and life remains available.

Coach Russell

We asked Coach Russell for his thoughts on the trajectory of the Rebels who are expected to make the 12-team College Football Playoffs next season and could be ranked in the Top 5 in the preseason.

What stands out most about the program is its win-now mentality. The staff has given a competitive impetus to strengthening the defensive line and it has succeeded. The attack is explosive and they have reloaded with skilled guys, but have also made sure that the trenches are fortified. The program is really taking off.

Coach Russell of Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss team

From conversations with both Keelon and Coach Russell, it is clear that Ole Miss has made a strong impact, giving the talented athlete plenty to think about. Only time will tell what Russell is committed to, but he is fortunate that his family and his father’s experience in the game can help him in the process.

Thanks to Coach Russell for providing not only his fatherly insight, but also his coaching insight in their recent visit to Oxford. We looked at Keelon well before the well-deserved media attention, and you can be sure we’ll continue to bring you the latest news on one of the hottest recruitments of 2025. Hot Toddy!

Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo

Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo

Lee Ann is the recruitment director for The Rebel Walk. She is a veteran SEC sportswriter and NFL content writer. She is also the Sr. Editor for MESPORTS digital. Herring-Olvedo is a graduate of Brown University and enjoys good cigars, good games and a smooth glass of bourbon – not necessarily in that order.