Q&A with “The Donald”

Georgia State running back Donald Russell was named the Colonial Athletic Association player of the week after rushing for 201 yards in the 41-7 victory over Rhode Island.

Russell, who transferred to Georgia State from Kentucky last year,  is now the top rusher in the conference, averaging 106.1 yards per game.

He sat down to talk about how he and the other ‘The Donald’ are alike, the keys to his recent success, and what’s next. If you want to follow him on twitter, his handle is @TheDonald_20

Q: How nice was it to be named the CAA player of the week?

A: It was an honor, definitely. A lot of people have been calling me. I really appreciate it. I talked to my offensive line today, they want me to bring them donuts. So now I have to go Friday morning and get them donuts.

Q: How many donuts does it take to make the offensive line happy?

A: That’s the problem. It might be four dozen. I try to say three dozen, but they said no.

Q: Do you like the nickname that the fans have given you?

A: The Donald? I love it. My mom, she adores it. She always laughs when people call me that. If I’m not mistaken it started last year.

My teammates and people on staff started calling me that. I was like ‘The Donald,’ I kind of like that.

Q: You know what The Donald is?

A: Yes. I saw a few photos that were hilarious. I love the nickname.

Q: So how are you and Donald Trump alike?

A: I want to say money, but … I would say that focus, that motivation to be on top.

Q: How would you do on Celebrity Apprentice?

A: You’ve got to have real think skin to be on that. I’ve watched a few of those shows.

Q: Do you have thick skin?

A: Oh yes. I could handle it.

Q: What’s been the key to your success the past couple of weeks?

A: Just the film work, knowing the personnel, knowing the types of defense our opponents will run. Other than that, just talking with my offensive line and knowing when I see a hole I have to hit it and make something happen.

Also, I’m trying to be a better receiver out of the backfield. I feel I’m coming along with that. That’s one of the things I worked on in the offseason a lot. I’m just trying to piece things together to become a complete back.

Q: What goes into being a better receiver? What were you not doing as well?

A: Route-running. I wasn’t really good with my route running last year. Catching, I didn’t really have too much confidence in my hands. But in the offseason, even after practice, I was catching the ball 100, 150 times just to have the ball in my hands.

Working on those things gave me confidence. It’s to the point now that I’m looking for the ball.

A lot of defenses don’t cover the running back as much so that’s become a big thing for me as well.

Q: What was your nickname before ‘The Donald?’

A: They used to say Dead Leg at Kentucky. With the different moves I had, I would make a hard cut and they would call it a Dead Leg. I think Joker Phillips came up with that.

Other than that, ‘The Donald’ is the first nickname I’ve had.

They called me OC in high school, out of control. They still call me that to this day.

Q: You seem like a pretty in control guy.

A: Oh yeah, I have to be, especially at this level. You’ve got to be in control and know when you can and can’t make moves.

Q: Are you thinking about the next level, the NFL?

A: Yes. It’s a dream for every football player. You try not to think about it but if you have the opportunity, watching the games on Sunday…I still talk with a lot of old (Kentucky) teammates. I just talked with Randall Cobb after their (Packers) big win last night. It’s just motivation to try to make it to the next level. Hopefully I’ll have that opportunity.

Q: How nice was it to finally get that ‘W’?

A: It was nice. Our confidence is up. We definitely look forward to playing Villanova. The biggest thing was no turnovers and to make turnovers on defense. You can see it on our faces, everybody was happy. It was a big weight off our shoulders to final get that ‘W.’ Now it’s continuing to get that next ‘W’ and playing hard. Practice this week is strict. Villanova is a good team. They just beat Old Dominion. We have to go with our heads straight to get the victory.

Other headlines

GSU hoops picked eighth in CAA preseason poll

GSU’s Russell named CAA player of the week

South Africa and SEALS … or how Georgia State’s men’s basketball team spent its offseason

Georgia State football will play at Alabama and West Virginia in 2013 and at Oregon in 2015

Two ways Georgia State can become quickly competitive in the Sun Belt

– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu

14 comments Add your comment

GSU Men's BB Fan

October 16th, 2012
1:10 pm

GSU Men's BB Fan

October 16th, 2012
1:11 pm

Nice Q&A Doug.

Hopefully the the coaching staff doesn’t see this and bench him for the first half or something. You know, ’cause we don’t want our student-athletes’ heads to get too big and all.

Orlando Panther

October 16th, 2012
1:24 pm

This guy is awesome, wish he had another two years to play for GSU and good luck at the next level!

Go Panthers

October 16th, 2012
2:08 pm

Great write up Doug.
The Donald has been a very good get for the program.

Chicken Bone

October 16th, 2012
2:16 pm

Keep up the great work Donald! O Line earn those Donuts for a second week and open up the D holes for “The Donald” and watch “The Donald” run again for 200+! Give it to Villanova on HC guys. Ya’ll can do it!

Donald Russell

October 16th, 2012
2:40 pm

Coach Bond is sitting me this week because he caught me giving donuts to linemen, in violation of team rules. It’s supposed to teach me humility or something.

Orlando Panther

October 16th, 2012
3:13 pm


Sorry to hear about your misfortune, but giving out donuts is a serious offense and truthfully you should be thankful that you are still on the team.

Take care,

Steve Nash's Pick and Roll

October 16th, 2012
3:39 pm

The man is beast and seems like a great kid as well. He will definitely get a shot on Sundays. Thank you Donald! You’ve done amazingly well considering how inept your coaching staff is.


October 16th, 2012
4:21 pm

Thanks for posting this Doug and thanks for being a model Panther The Donald.

Sure wish there was another year of eligibility left…

[...] Q&A with “The Donald” [...]

Alicia Keys

October 17th, 2012
12:47 am

Donald, if you keep this up I may have to fly to Atlanta and see what this, The Donald phenomenon is all about!

[...] Q&A with “The Donald” [...]

[...] Q&A with “The Donald” [...]

[...] Look for OC John Bond to start exactly how he started vs. Rhode Island to get McLane’s confidence up and a steady dose of The Donald (BTW, credit due to our fine folks on the football message boards who applied that nickname to him last season).  In case you missed it, a great interview by the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Doug Roberson with Russell found HERE. [...]