Russell was a three year starter at defensive tackle for USC and played in the 1996 Rose Bowl. He was a two time All Conference first team member and was a 1996 Playboy pre-season All-American. He led USC in tackles for losses in 1995 and 1996, in sacks in 1996 and in fumbles caused in 1996. He left USC after his junior season and was drafted in the first round (second overall pick) of the 1997 NFL draft by the Raiders. He was a Pro Bowl pick in 1998 and 99.