A defense loaded with talent and depth at most positions had holes at middle linebacker. That was the assessment of Ole Miss coaches in the spring, anyway, when they moved senior end CJ Johnson there.
Christian Russell was a first-year junior college transfer last year playing behind DT Shackelford. It wasn’t known what kind of year Shackelford, coming off two knee surgeries, would have, but it turned out to be pretty strong.
In the end, Russell wasn’t needed to be the starter. He played in every game and finished with 23 tackles. He sounds like he’s a lot more confident and comfortable in the defense in his second year.