For two years, Curtis High School baseball standout Kyle Russell knew what he wanted, and that was to play for the Oregon Ducks.
But after Ducks baseball George Horton was let go in late May, Russell had to start all over again.
But he knew what he was looking for.
And he quickly found it at Washington State University with newly-hired coach Brian Green.
Russell announced on Twitter late Wednesday night that he would be signing with the Cougars in November as one of the top class-of-2020 prospects in the state of Washington.
“Once the coaching change (at Oregon) hit, that hit me pretty hard,” Russell said. “(Associate head coach) Jay Uhlman and Coach Horton, we were close – and they were great coaches. They made me feel like family, and once they left, that feeling went away a little bit.
“But I got that same feeling (with WSU).”
It helped that Bryan Robinson, Russell’s coach at Curtis, knew Green, who spent five seasons leading the New Mexico State program. Robinson was a first baseman at NMSU.
Robinson suggested to his standout, and reigning 4A SPSL player of the year, to keep an open mind about the Cougars, despite their recent struggles in the Pac 12.
So, Russell and his parents, Syd and Kim, visited the Cougars on July 6. Russell was so impressed, he gave Green an oral commitment on the spot.
“Those coaches made my family feel like family,” Russell said.
The hard-hitting, slick-fielding shortstop has been on the rise ever since his strong sophomore season at Curtis — .380 batting average with 15 RBI and 17 runs and no strikeouts as a hitter.
But Russell was even better last season — .450 batting average with six home runs, six doubles, 30 RBI and 25 runs (and only two strikeouts) in leading the Vikings to the Class 4A regional round.
Russell just earned an Area Code Games nod with an elite summer team from Washington, and will be at that prestigious showcase tournament in early August.
Also the starting quarterback on the Curtis football team, Russell will miss a game this fall to be at the New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series at Fenway Park in late September.