Tech Triumph: Kody Russey
By Andrew Goodwin
RUSTON, La. – Much to the chagrin of Peter Pan, we all have to grow up someday. And sometimes that means letting go of things we loved in order to find work or move up the ladder.
That’s why Kody Russey took a trip to a barber shop this summer. His hair, which then ran down past his shoulders, needed a more professional look.
“I’m getting in to my junior year of school so I need to be professional,” said Russey in an interview with Conference USA. “It was time to grow up a little bit.”
The growing up, of course, is figurative. At 6-foot-1 and 290-pounds, the former powerlifter hardly needs to grow any more physically to serve as an effective center for Louisiana Tech this fall. He’s been strong enough for the role since redshirt-freshman season, when he stepped into a starting guard spot against South Carolina.
Back then, Russey was the youngest member of an oft-injured offensive line and relied heavily on teammate and friend Ethan Reed. Now, after two years and swap back to his natural position at center, Reed and Russey are elder statesmen for the Bulldogs, tasked with bringing along the next group of standout linemen.
“We’re really looking to take the next step as a group, but in order to do that we need to be ourselves and be together as a team,” said Russey, named both C-USA and Louisiana Sports Writers Association honorable mention all-league in 2018 after starting all 13 games. “As long as we keep that brotherhood tight, I think we can meet our expectations for this season.”
Russey came to Ruston after a prep career at Burleson High School in Texas. The three-sport star (football, track, powerlifting) set the Texas state deadlift record by lifting 715 pounds in high school. He finished fourth in the Texas High School Powerlifting Association state championship his junior year.
The leadership skills Russey is building at Louisiana Tech will likely serve him well when his time playing football is over too. The junior is on track to graduate with a degree in supply chain management and wants to work in logistics for a major corporation.
He has proven to be as successful in the classroom as he is on the field, earning a spot on the C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll three straight year. Both on and off the field, he’s learning how to get people to work together to accomplish their goals.
“I’m trying to make whatever company I work for more efficient as a team, and I think learning about that really does translate on to the field,” he said.
Until his graduation, Russey’s skills will be used to manage the offensive line and maintain the family atmosphere that brought him to Ruston in the first place. When Russey finished up his time in high school, he was looking to get his degree somewhere he could focus on football and his teammates. That’s what made Ruston – and Louisiana Tech – a perfect fit
“It’s been special to get to spend a lot of time with my teammates. Everything we do, we do it together,” said Russey. “It all comes back to Ruston. There’s just this family atmosphere in a small town.”
After a few years as a little brother on the offensive line, Russey has grown up. The redshirt junior is an off-the-field ringleader for the guys up front, getting the line together for cookouts and basketball games.
His teammates noticed the extra effort. Prior to the season, Russey was named one of Tech’s four captains for the 2019-20 season. It is a new leadership role for him, but that’s part of growing up. The new responsibility provides an opportunity as well; the chance to leave a mark on the Bulldog brotherhood.
“Louisiana Tech is special because of our brotherhood; how we treat each other and how the coaches treat us,” he said. “I’m really grateful to be here. It’s been an awesome experience so far.”
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