INSIDER: DB Vonn Bell eliminates UGA and has Alabama, Tennessee, Ohio St. as finalists

Vonn Bell, the AJC Super 11 safety, had a unique way to narrow down to his three finalists.

AJC Super 11 DB Vonn Bell (AJC)

AJC Super 11 DB Vonn Bell (AJC)

The 4-star football recruit from Ridgeland High School threw three loaded questions to each of his seven favorites – Alabama, UGA, Clemson, Tennessee, Ohio State, Texas and Vanderbilt.

“Vonn and his family just wanted the facts from a few fact-finding questions,” Ridgeland coach Mark Mariakis told the AJC. “They had already done all the fluff questions and conversations. They had seen the facilities and trophies. They wanted to get down to the nitty gritty with the facts.”

So what were the three magical questions from Vonn Bell?

  • How could you help my job career after college? “He wants to go into coaching at the college level,” Mariakis said. “He just wanted to know what the college could offer in that area of academics with the educational part, the opportunity for a young man to get some job experience, and just what their plan academically was for him.”
  • What is your graduation plan for me? “When do they see him graduating at their school?” Mariakis said. “Do they put you on a 3.5-year plan, four-year plan, or for five years? And if a kid gets off track, what do they do to get him back on track?”
  • Where and when do I play football? “Third and final were the football questions: Where do they see him playing? How soon do they see him playing?” Mariakis said. “What were their plans for him as a football player in their program?”
Nick Saban (AP)

Vonn Bell's coach: "I think Alabama is just Alabama" (AP)

Obviously, Bell liked the answers he heard from Alabama, Tennessee and Ohio State — as those three have made it to the final round.

“I think those three schools, they all kind of bring something different to the table,” Mariakis said. “I think Tennessee brings the emotional side. He has been a Tennessee fan for his whole life.

“I think Alabama is just Alabama. They’re playing for a national championship every year here recently. I think the pull of playing DB at Alabama and being coached at that position by Coach [Nick Saban] is a pull for any young football player who has dreams of going on to big-time football.

And then Ohio State has been at the top of the list since Day One. Him and Coach [Urban Meyer] hit it off first time they met and talked. He had a good camp there and really enjoyed the staff and the facilities. His parents have enjoyed Ohio State’s campus and everything about it.

“All three of them bring something strong to the table. It will be a tough decision for him to get it down to one school.”

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And what about UGA? “Vonn liked Coach [Mark Richt] and liked Georgia. It was kind of a tough decision for him. He’s a kid who is very relationship-oriented. And that has been the toughest thing for him – to tell somebody ‘no.’ Coach Richt and that program are all about relationships. It was really tough for him to eliminate them, along with the other schools, too. But a decision had to be made, and he made it.”

What’s next for Bell? He will narrow down to one school after taking official visits to each of the three finalists. Bell does not claim a favorite out of the three, although Tennessee is rumored to be the school to beat, with Ohio State as the darkhorse contender.

"You can tear both

INJURY REPORT ON UGA COMMITS: Swainsboro High School’s Rico Johnson, a WR committed to UGA, got a scare in last Friday’s game when he exited in the second quarter with an undisclosed leg injury and did not return. However, Johnson got some good news this week when he was told that he could probably return within two weeks. Swainsboro coach David Johnson is “amazed” that his team’s other star player, DB-WR Jemerico Bell, doesn’t have any offers yet. “He’s a tad shorter than Rico at 5-10, and just a solid kid and great football player,” Johnson said. “When Rico got hurt, Jemerico took his game to a whole other level and pretty much carried us on his back. He put on a show, and he was fun to watch.” Bell had 17 carries for 153 yards, three kickoff returns for 97 yards, 11 total tackles, and two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown in the 44-41 win over Pierce County. “I’m amazed he doesn’t have any offers yet, I keep waiting,” Johnson said. “I think once he gets one, it’s going to kind of explode. Clemson, Georgia and Georgia Tech are all kind of sitting there. They are talking to him, but nobody has pulled the trigger yet. I think they really want to see what he does early in the season, and boy has he played well.” … Another UGA commit, DB Shaq Wiggins of Sandy Creek High School, likely suffered a concussion in last Thursday’s win over East Coweta. Wiggins told one reporter the next day he did not remember the game. Sandy Creek is off this week, and Wiggins will be examined next week before his playing status is known.

Dabo Swinney scouted Robert Nkemdiche and his teammates (AP)

Dabo Swinney scouted Robert Nkemdiche and his teammates (AP)

ROBERT NKEMDICHE UPDATE: Clemson coach Dabo Swinney attended Grayson’s stunning 22-7 loss to Parkview last Friday. Grayson entered the game not only ranked No. 1 in Georgia’s Class AAAAAAA, but also tops in several national polls. Swinney sat in the Parkview press box in the first half, but later moved to the other side of the field to the Grayson sidelines so he could be seen by Robert Nkemdiche, the nation’s No. 1 prospect who is committed to Clemson. It was good strategy by Swinney, as both Nkemdiche and his Grayson teammate, DB David Kamara (also committed to Clemson), both waved to the Clemson coach while walking out of the locker room for the second half. With the exception of the Grayson loss, it was ideal timing for Swinney with Nkemdiche going to Ole Miss the next day to see his brother play. How did Nkemdiche play against Parkview? “We made up our minds that we were not going to be scared and run away from Robert,” Parkview coach Cecil Flowe said. “We made some plays, and he made some plays. You’ve got to go and try to scheme him a little bit and try not to let him tilt the field one way or the other. You have to account for how good of a player he is by getting some pads on him, doing all you can do, and fight hard. We probably did the best we could do against Robert. It’s hard running against that Grayson defense because they’re really good.” What was Flowe’s overall impression of Nkemdiche? “Robert is a great player. He has a bright career ahead of him, and he will make a lot of money one day. It’s just that nobody is mistake-proof. We hit him just right and got the ball out of his hands at the goal line [with Nkemdiche turning over the ball by fumbling into the end zone as he was about to score a touchdown at running back]. But Robert is a fine player and just a phenom of an athlete. He’s going to make Coach Swinney a good one.” Nkemdiche didn’t talk to any media after his Ole Miss trip, but thanked the Rebels and their fans for the hospitality over Twitter. On Tuesday, Nkemdiche had disabled his Twitter account, maybe just to avoid any distractions or perhaps because of an unbelievable amount of negative tweets fired at him about the Grayson loss. It’s unfair criticism for Nkemdiche, who is often the focus of the other team’s entire gameplan and blocked by 2-3 players on a snap – which frees up the rest of the defense to make plays. This reporter watched most of Nkemdiche’s game on Friday, and thinks he’s very deserving of his lofty ranking.

Clemson-bound QB DeShaun Watson (AJC)

Clemson-bound QB DeShaun Watson (AJC)

A NIGHT OF PERFECTION: Clemson’s Dabo Swinney didn’t make his other scheduled Friday appearance to watch another elite Georgia prospect committed to the Tigers, probably because Grayson game was so close. The other top Clemson recruit is DeShaun Watson, the junior QB from Gainesville High School. Watson got off to a rough start this year, throwing four interceptions in each of the team’s first two games, a loss to West Forsyth and a monumental upset over Buford. On Friday, Swinney missed a perfect performance from his future QB. Watson completed 18 of 18 passes for 360 yards and 7 touchdowns, while also running five times for 68 yards and another score in the 69-0 win over Winder-Barrow. “I think, for him, here’s just what happened: We were in some tight ballgames, and DeShaun was pressing a little bit,” Gainesville coach Bruce Miller said. “Of those eight interceptions, there were probably 3-4 he shouldn’t have thrown. But he’s still in the learning process. I’m just glad he’s on my team every Friday night.” Watson’s coach also pointed out that four of the eight interceptions were deflected by Gainesville’s receivers into the hands of defenders. “I tell you, he might throw four interceptions against Buford … but his running, his toughness, and his plays on the last drive were incredible. We had five minutes left on the clock and the plays he made on the last drive were unbelievable. Buford was knocking his head off, and he just kept going. He played great against Buford. If he wants to throw four interceptions again and play as good as he did against Buford, I will take it.” Clemson recruiting coordinator Jeff Scott observed the Buford game.

UPDATE ON EX-FLORIDA RECRUIT: Offensive lineman Joshua Outlaw, who de-committed from Florida last month because he wanted to visit some other schools, made an unofficial visit to Clemson last weekend. “It was great. I got to see Sammy Watkins’ first game back,” Outlaw said. “It was really exciting, and just a crazy atmosphere.” Outlaw said he is being recruited the hardest by Arkansas, Miami, Tennessee, South Carolina – and Florida. Outlaw said there’s still a possibly he could pledge again to Florida. “Yes sir, I am definitely looking at the Gators. I’m just taking my time to see what the best possible option is for me, and I’m going to take it all the way down until February.” Outlaw said he was also told that UGA recently inquired about him. Outlaw has also backed off on his wish to play only offensive tackle in college. “I don’t have a preferred position. It’s really whatever gets me on the field first is how I feel about it.” Outlaw got a written offer from UCLA this week. He does not list a leader nor have any official visits planned.

SLEEPER LIST: One prospect to watch is Dutchtown offensive lineman Jordan Harris, a 6-foot-5, 320-pounder who committed early to Middle Tennessee State. After the Dutchtown coaches mailed out some senior film, Harris has sparked interest from Auburn, South Florida and Ole Miss, among others. Harris will make an unofficial visit to Auburn for the second week in a row. Auburn has not offered but Harris “thinks it may happen” eventually.

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THE LATEST NEWS

FOOTBALL SEASON

CLASSICS

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

Note: Inappropriate BLOG comments and personal attacks will NOT be tolerated. We love the lively discussions but hate-filled, harassing and irresponsible comments are unacceptable.

Please Follow me on Twitter @RecruitingAJC + Please be my Facebook friend here

156 comments Add your comment

1eyedJack

September 19th, 2012
9:54 am

So, after the three magical questions from Vonn Bell, his “finalists” are still pretty much the same as they were before the three magical questions. What was so magical about them and did he just listen to what he wanted to hear?

Coach

September 19th, 2012
9:57 am

When you can’t even make the top three for in state players, I think you’ve answered all the Questions.

GeoffDawg

September 19th, 2012
9:59 am

Ironically, “SMART enough” should realize that AAU membership has much more to do with the research funded through the university than it does with the quality of the classroom experience. It also is fairly limited to the types of fields that said research can support. Hence why Nebraska lost their AAU affiliation when they chose to put more resources into agricultural science. This has very little to do with the education that an undergraduate will receive.

SugeKnightDawg

September 19th, 2012
10:00 am

A lot of hypocrites on this board today. So you people calling this kid selfish have never gone on a job interview and asked questions about what that potential employer is going to do for you by way of salary, benefits package, and advancement opportunities?

I also assume none of you ever went to visit a college recruiter even as a regular student and asked what opportunities beyond the classroom would enhance your future earning prospects? You know, like academic clubs, social clubs, research opportunities, graduate programs with more research opportunities, teaching assistant opportunities, etc?

Oh yeah, this must be that “slave mentality” attitude that some athletes say is prevalent in sports where players shouldn’t do anything except what coach tells them to do and once their usefulness to the program expires we don’t care what happens to them.

BamaNation

September 19th, 2012
10:01 am

Wow, uga fans have not been right since that BEAT DOWN during your BLACKOUT game …… LMAO

nate from detroit

September 19th, 2012
10:02 am

Technically Coach, Bell lives in Tennessee. The Chattanooga paper did an article a few weeks back on the out of district players that now play for Ridgeland. Bell grew up in Tennessee and still lives in the Chattanooga area.

georgiajeepn

September 19th, 2012
10:03 am

I know some of the great football minds on here will jump on me for what I am going to say but this ajc.com message board is looney…First off someone jumps right on here at 3:01 in the morning and completely changes the thread to cut down the Georgia Bulldogs in whatever way possible. They some Bulldog idiot will get on here and argue with that idiot. Then pretty soon you have 5 or 6 idiots arguing about the same thing they argue about everyday…And all the time the ajc reporter is saying wow look how many hits that story I wrote today got…I have had my say and will goodbye to you Bama idiots and you Bulldog idiots and the occasional Tech idiots. Adios!!!

Flo - Ri - Duh

September 19th, 2012
10:05 am

Nkemdiche may actually be overrated? He’s good but #1 – I would give that to Montravius Adams.

GeoffDawg

September 19th, 2012
10:16 am

You have to admit georgiajeepn that the tech idiots are more than just occasional…

shankit

September 19th, 2012
10:38 am

Historically, seems his MaMa would want security for
her child, should he get injured. Which school has the
track record for maintaining scholarship in case of injury?
I think we all know.

Andy

September 19th, 2012
10:46 am

What happened to that sports agent that had absolute 100% proof that Saban was cheating and was going to reveal it to the world. .Where you be boy? You been awful quite lately

Gene

September 19th, 2012
10:51 am

Saban and Meyer are the two coaches least likely to be truthful. Anyway, the answers to the three questions come only from the player’s motivation and character. Look at Crowell, Dyer, Ealey, and Rogers.

Judge Dawg

September 19th, 2012
10:56 am

This story shows how a major newspaper can be manipulated by a seventeen year old. He sounds like one of our former players. And he believes Saban and Meyer.

John

September 19th, 2012
10:58 am

Any college coach will tell any recruit whatever he thinks will influence the recruit to trend.

Andy

September 19th, 2012
10:59 am

@ shankit No I don’t think we all know. Why don’t you enlighten all of us dummies that are not in the loop with all you insiders. 1

Flo - Ri - Duh

September 19th, 2012
11:14 am

Vonn Bell never seriously considered UGA and has been written off for some time. Also you can write of Trenton Brown who says he is still committed to UGA but Florida is his leader. Leaves more room for Tunsil and Crowder on the OL. Brown wants to play OT and he is huge but much like Anderson last year he is a touch slow to react to the pass rush. Opinion of Brown varies widely from 4 star to a 5.6 rating (low 3 star). UGA has their entire OL back next year and it should be the strength of the team.

AltamahaDawg

September 19th, 2012
11:23 am

First of all Mr. AJC headline writer, how were those tough questions. Pretty canned straight out the Guide to being recruited manual questions , weren’t they?

And upon reading the assessments by his coach, they could have saved everybody a lot of time and just asked what they really wanted to know. Quetion #3.

Lord Saban

September 19th, 2012
11:43 am

Kinda embarrassing for the home state coach to get shut out of the process. The kid pretty much summed it up about Alabama- They play for national championships every year.

gp

September 19th, 2012
11:43 am

Obviously Da’Rick Rogers, Terrell Pryor and Justin Taylor asked those same questions of those schools, as Bell did. Good luck,dude.

king saban

September 19th, 2012
11:49 am

Man that’s just embarrassing when the home state coach gets turned down. The kid said it best though “Alabama plays for national championships every year”

Fred

September 19th, 2012
11:50 am

@bill – Did you ever consider that just maybe his team’s schedule conflicted with some of those camps? It did by the way.

the king of college football

September 19th, 2012
11:51 am

Kind of embarrassing that richt already got shut out of the process.

Fred

September 19th, 2012
11:54 am

If Bell wants to go into coaching at the college level, it seems to me the questions he asked were very pertinent. He is concerned about how the college will help him with his career goals. Isn’t that what *every* student considers when looking at a college? Maybe he has no desire to go to the NFL and is more concerned about his education and long term goals. I find that refreshing!

brick

September 19th, 2012
11:55 am

Roll Tide, the questions he should ask is what happens if I get hurt or what happens if I don’t make the 2 deep. Of course a kid never thinks he is going to be injured and they don’t think there is a possibility they won’t start. Seen this particular kid play multiple times and will be very surprised if he is ever anything more than a spot player or special team player. So if by chance he chooses Bama means he will finish is career at one of the directional schools in Alabama. But that really is a moot point, unless something big happens he is going to UT.

Smarticus

September 19th, 2012
11:59 am

Seems like Climpson and Dabo Swinney are outhustling da Preacha Man for football talent in our own back yard.

Let’s give Richt and Bobo a salary increase!

buzz me up

September 19th, 2012
11:59 am

Kid go where you feel is the best fit for you. Forget all the BS on blog and do what your heart tells you. Its your life and you got to live with the decision. God Bless and good luck.

DAWGFAN

September 19th, 2012
12:01 pm

Enter your comments here

DAWGFAN

September 19th, 2012
12:08 pm

I don’t believe for one second that this kid’s “questions” had anything to do with eliminating anyone – his mind was already made up. First off, Tennesse’s answers have to be totally discounted since there’s a strong probability that the coaching stay will soon be replaced. And the same may be true with Ohio State since Urban Meyer can space out at any time and decide to retire, unretire, and retire again. And seriously, does anyone think Alabama has a graduation plan for their players. At “bammer” you play or you’re cut. If you want to graduate, you’ll do that based on your own initiative – providing Saban doesn’t jerk your scholarship first if you don’t meet his performance standards.

Ridgelandpanthers07

September 19th, 2012
12:41 pm

Hey AJC, you have finally caught on to Bell, Congrats. You also love to report on Ridgeland’s prayer controversy. Maybe you should come to Ridgeland and do some real journalism this Friday night. I think you will come away recognizing that the Ridgeland Panthers are a top team and they are a contender.

THE Dixie Redcoat Band

September 19th, 2012
12:51 pm

If he wants to play for Ohio…hope he likes the snow/ice and cold weather.

AL is dirtier than my underwear

September 19th, 2012
12:52 pm

Yeah, Saban will take care of momma’s baby while he plays at AL. He just ignores his own daughter who gets arrested for a drunken brawl at her sorority house. So Saban’s daughter is a drunken brawler but the no players on the team ever get in trouble. What a joke.

HARRY

September 19th, 2012
1:03 pm

The kid would be the first football player to graduate from Alabama since Forrest Gump!

chazzo

September 19th, 2012
1:18 pm

Go ahead and put on that Alabama grey shirt and be done with it.

AltamahaDawg

September 19th, 2012
1:22 pm

Very possibly so Fred. At the very least his folks told him those were important questions. And you and I both know that everybody gave almost verbatim answers to questions 1,2. I mean..what the heck do you think they said? I’d bet you could pull the responces out of hat and assign them randomly and not be far off. (nor do I think he could go wrong with any of them)

But then every discussion about the schools had nothing to do with any of that. SO, Lets guess which question had the most highlighter in his notebook.

PTC DAWG

September 19th, 2012
1:24 pm

Best of luck to this Kid.

You guys stay classy.

13' GA S Vonn Bell - Page 155 - VolNation

September 19th, 2012
1:37 pm

Mr. Hankey (Pankey)

September 19th, 2012
1:51 pm

Who give a F what this guy’s questions were. Do you guys have so little going on the care? I hope he doesn’t come to UGA. Sounds ilke a Nkim-dee-chee pariah.

Special K

September 19th, 2012
2:12 pm

Gotta love the venom the pup fans spew out when a recruit does not commit to uga. Call the education system bad, call the coach satan amd whatever vile you can come up with. I come on here just to see what new trash you have to throw at other teams and players. New stuff every day. Keep up the good work.

Special K

September 19th, 2012
2:13 pm

Should be “and”. Sorry my GA education got the better of me.

[...] more here: INSIDER: Top football recruit eliminates colleges after tough – Blogs var addthis_config = [...]

harold

September 19th, 2012
2:22 pm

BELL CHOOSES THE SAME PATH & GROUND WHERE ERIC BERRY PLAYED AND PEYTON MANNING: HE CHOOSES “BIG ORANGE COUNTRY” AND TENNESSEE!

JB

September 19th, 2012
2:37 pm

Well, after reading this, looks like the Dawgs dodged a bullet……And Saban over Richt caring about the welfare of a kid……..pleazzzzzzzzzzze…………Good luck kid. Don’t get hurt this season…….Saban’s phone will be out of order if you do.

JB

September 19th, 2012
2:40 pm

Tenn will lose to all the ” ranked” SEC teams on their schedule. I like Derek, but after reading the 82 comments in the Knoxville paper last Sunday, The war drums are beating. At where that program was year one for Dooley ( Not one OL with any game experience) they should let him finish his contract and see what happens. They’ve gone from door mat to better fasten your chin strap in 3 short years..
They are getting close.

B_itter bamma fans are dusch bags

September 19th, 2012
3:10 pm

banned check

B_itter bamma fans are dusch bags

September 19th, 2012
3:15 pm

Enter your comments here—–ok i will—bamma turds ripping dawg fans

—-so ole troll hate-in

pan calling the kittle black

same tactics the —LITTLE USED CAR SALESMAN USE’S

—LSU will wipe the deer in the head light look off your face’s

—then you trailer tramps can pray for –ESPN–coming to your rescue

—–DAWGS and the TIGERS in the SEC FINAL

—FINAL NOTE:—-BAMMA FANS–stop kissing your sisters on national T.V.

–BLAhahahahahahah

B_itter dummy recruit

September 19th, 2012
3:19 pm

No room for dummies on UGA—-go to the TRAILER TRAMPS or BLUE TICKS

——-HAHAHAHAHAH—–BIG DUMMY

Dawglasville

September 19th, 2012
3:29 pm

Good luck kid.

Kinda funny that he asked the coaches those questions and then the reasons gave for selecting his 3 had nothing to do with the questions at all. 17-19 year olds say the craziest stuff.

Enjoy the process young man.

Flo - Ri - Duh

September 19th, 2012
3:33 pm

This is a NON story. There is nothing unusual about the questions Vonn Bell asked. In fact, I would say that MOST recruits ask these questions. Why try to make this out to be some kind of brilliant strategy when it is not? UGA wrote him off long ago as Bell never showed any interest in them. He is going to Ohio State because of the turn coat Urban Meyer that left the Florida program in disarray.

P_The_Ricker

September 19th, 2012
3:48 pm

Wouldn’t a better source to ask questions to Urban Meyer be his former players at UF? You’d get a lot more honesty from them.

AltamahaDawg

September 19th, 2012
4:15 pm

That is a really good point. You think you would more rely on the information from a third partythat had already been there, more than asking a coach for some crystal ball predictions, on graduation and career aspirations. Yea, ok……we hope to, we plan to, let me assure you we will do our best to. How are they supposed to know when this kid can expect to graduate? Or what sort of coaching aptitude he has. And who is going to say anything but what he wants to hear? All with the best intentions.

Now the third question is fair. They should be able to tell him, what they want from him on the field. They are the ones that invited him to be there.