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

Roll Tide 14

September 19th, 2012
3:01 am

I would’ve loved to have heard Saint Richt’s answers to all three questions hahahaahaha too bad mutts

RevAl

September 19th, 2012
4:13 am

Yes, Roll Turd…your insight is a cure for my insomnia….thanks, tool…..

reality

September 19th, 2012
4:22 am

Roll Tide 14….. The answers were probably the truth………unlike the final three’s…….HA HA HA

kingdaddy

September 19th, 2012
5:18 am

Nice work MC…

kingdaddy

September 19th, 2012
5:32 am

Why do the obvious idiots have to be so class-less and attack Coach Richt’s religion? Don’t care for good people with high character in Alabama, Roll Tide 14,or should I call you Roll “Satan’$” Tide 14,666??? Saint Richt will forgive you, but I hope you burn and rot for eternity…

Blackoutanyone?

September 19th, 2012
5:52 am

“I think Alabama is just Alabama. They’re playing for a national championship every year…”

Well that pretty much sums it up.

ROLL TIDE!!!!!

FL Jacket

September 19th, 2012
7:20 am

This kid is certainly asking a olt of “ME” and “I” questions isn’t he? Those can only be good for a football team…

B_itter

September 19th, 2012
7:26 am

M.C. nice job—bamma tramps go away–like a ex-wife

Spike

September 19th, 2012
7:28 am

Wow… Me Me Me… The better question that was unasked is “What are my plans after I work hard enough on my own to graduate, as opposed to what the coach and school are going to do for me?”

Um......riiiiight

September 19th, 2012
7:31 am

Roll Tide 14
September 19th, 2012
3:01 am

Spoken like a true Obama troll.

Douglas

September 19th, 2012
7:51 am

I don’t blame him for considering Bama…great coaches. But you are telling me that Ohio State and Tenn. have better defensive coaches than UGA? He may have a high GPA but it sounds like he doesn’t have a lot of common sense.

Brown Dog

September 19th, 2012
7:53 am

Man, rough pre-dawn crowd — eternal damnation and a Democratic slur.

KnoxvilleDawg

September 19th, 2012
7:56 am

As some smart football coach once replied when asked “How many of your players graduated”. He replied ” Everyone that wanted to” Nuff said.

Baloneyismyfirstname!

September 19th, 2012
7:58 am

How dare he wants to know what the school can do for him….I mean it’s not like he is putting his life and health on the line for the school or that they will make millions off the sweat of him and his teammates. So selfish

Baloneyismyfirstname!

September 19th, 2012
8:01 am

Next thing you know he is gonna ask about a meal plan , dorm room, and a training staff to look after his boo boo’s…..as if he deserves that

Baloneyismyfirstname!

September 19th, 2012
8:04 am

The schools are only after the player for what he can do for hem, but he is wrong for seeking reciprocity. When you interview for a job do you not want to know what your compensation and benefits pkg will include….make no mistake it is a job and he has every right and a responsibility to pick the spot that serves his interest best

GT = 10 time loser to Mark Richt

September 19th, 2012
8:07 am

USSR (United Saban Soviet Republic) guidelines state all players will be processed in accordance with Premier Saban’s wishes. Should any player become injured or a better player come to Alabamstan, said player will be cast off to North Alabamastan Siberia to finish his sentence in the 1-AA Gulag.

GT = 10 time loser to Mark Richt

September 19th, 2012
8:09 am

And to all the tree killers, Richt didn’t go after Bell because we have Matthews and several other safeties already committed. He will be going to Ohio State on signing day.

GeoffDawg

September 19th, 2012
8:26 am

Anyone else notice that his explanation for picking the top three have nothing to do with those questions?

14 Titles

September 19th, 2012
8:32 am

Nick’s loading the roster with more 5 star recruits for another title run next year—it could be 3 in a row! Bama’s team this year may be better than the 2011 title team. RTR!!!!

Nhgamecock

September 19th, 2012
8:34 am

What’s the update in gt Recruits?

Nhgamecock

September 19th, 2012
8:34 am

What’s the updates on GT recruits?

PR

September 19th, 2012
8:41 am

UGA is full at the safety position for the ‘13 class. You make room for a guy like Bell, but he’s certainly not a must have at this point.

Truth Hurts son

September 19th, 2012
8:45 am

What are your plans for me regarding playing football?

So if Richt answered,”The best players will play”, I guess that offended him.

I hope Derek Dooley told him to hold a spot for him on whatever staff he ends up on.

GeoffDawg

September 19th, 2012
8:50 am

Outlaw better get that UCLA offer with a non-refundable deposit.

Brown Dog

September 19th, 2012
8:52 am

PR, with all due respect, Georgia doesn’t have enough players at any position otherwise you wouldn’t have a dozen walk-ons on scholarship this year or signing 32-34 for the next. If bell is good enough to play you try to sign him.

Not so fast.

September 19th, 2012
8:52 am

I think we are filled at Safety already…….
Don’t worry, when the dogs get to the dome this year Bama will be on the other side and nothing will be sweeter than what is going to happen.

See you in Miami….because the Dawgs are going!

Layinlow

September 19th, 2012
8:52 am

Obviously, this ridgeland kid didn’t narrow his list based on these three questions. Why even bring the stupid question list up if your really not going to use it? Are we supposed to believe that Saban and ut have his best interest at heart when it comes to his education and future after football? Really kid? If you go to Bama all I can say is don’t get hurt or let your play slack off or you will get cut just like in the nfl. I have been critical of richt at times but if I’m a football recruit worried about my future I would trust richt hands down over any other coach in the sec.

ComeOnVonn

September 19th, 2012
8:54 am

I guess people dont wanna work hard anymore and just have things given to them ha. Sad parenting.

Jim N Buckhead

September 19th, 2012
8:54 am

Those questions are foolish…All schools offer some sort of help in finding jobs after graduation I guess because he is good football player he can ask for more than other students? The other questions are up to him.

Holy Guacamole

September 19th, 2012
8:56 am

A couple of big wins after years of drought and surprise, the Bama fans are insufferable again. I’ll be glad when their run is over and they can go back to whining about everyone else cheating. I am growing weary of the chest thumping.

blackeyeanyone

September 19th, 2012
8:56 am

How long before Saban goes back to the NFL and whimpers back to college football?

Prometheus

September 19th, 2012
8:56 am

What arrogance? If you go to college and do not shine in the classroom, the school can do nothing for you except give you a job that you did not earn.

just a fan

September 19th, 2012
8:57 am

I would love to have this young man on my team he seems to have his priorities straight. Good luck where ever he lands.

Go Dawgs Sic em WOOF WOOF WOOF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Injury?

September 19th, 2012
8:58 am

So if he commits now, and gets injured then what? that was the question he should have asked…..
Then he should get a big A cut in his head only to shave it off later when they pull his scholly

Saint Simons

September 19th, 2012
9:00 am

What about tech :( no one even gives us a look, maybe it’s because of the triple floption?

22 SEC Titles

September 19th, 2012
9:00 am

Certtainly would like to have VB, but CNS does not get every kid. Either way we can win with you or win without you. Just ask Clowney, Mitchell, Crowell…….

Holy Guacamole

September 19th, 2012
9:07 am

Bell is beginning to sound like another prima donna like Foster and Nkemdiche. Not sure that he would be good for any team if he has that type of “me, me, me first” attitude. Frankly, I am glad that neither of those other two are going to UGA because it took a while for UGA to rid themselves of players with that type of personality. I guess offering him a free education and all of the perks is not enough.

obama Sin Laden

September 19th, 2012
9:08 am

fl jacket i concurr. let the whinny little brat go some where else. cmr wants boys that are eager to learn and help themselves while in college instead of boys looking for a life time contract for freebies. good ridance boy. gata cmr.

Jimmiezz

September 19th, 2012
9:13 am

Holy Guac-
If Bama was in a drought for a few years…what do you call what UGA is in right now? Bama doesn’t go 32 years between titles.

Chi Town

September 19th, 2012
9:14 am

Guess St Richt did not answer the questions correctly….

What is your graduation plan for me?

St Richt…………Not sure but I will jump off the high dive in our Aquatic center for you.

bill

September 19th, 2012
9:15 am

Wow ZERO sacks. Why is this kid ranked number 1 in the country?! Based on what? He didn’t show out at camps, or even show up for that matter. And his production on the field has been minimal. Give me a break.

FisheriesDawg

September 19th, 2012
9:24 am

I’m confused…is he saying that Derek Dooley has been a Tennessee fan his whole life, or is he talking about an assistant that is recruiting him? Or is this just a poor use of quotes and you actually transitioned out of Bell’s personal statement are are saying that Von Bell has been a Tennessee fan his whole life?

A person SMART enough to know.....

September 19th, 2012
9:29 am

EDUCATION questions and Bama & Tennessee made it to the top over Texas & Vandy(AAU members)? LOL now that is priceless.

Holy Guacamole

September 19th, 2012
9:30 am

Jimmiezz – my point was about the incessant chest thumping. Furthermore, the MNC is just that without a playoff system. Bama was just .500 last year with LSU, and moreover, didn’t even win their subdivision, much less the SEC Championship. Seems to me that it takes some luck to even play for the MNC last year after that performance.

claytondawg

September 19th, 2012
9:32 am

Let the kid make his own decisions and his own direction in life. It’s HIS choice. I love my ‘Dogs, but we can’t get everybody in the state of Georgia. Ok, now, back to reality…We need another head coach.

A person SMART enough to know.....

September 19th, 2012
9:39 am

SORRY people but I don’t think the kid was being ME ME ME when it comes to his Education. An Education and College Diploma is all about ME ME ME. The kid has to go to the classes, take the test and get a job after school so he asked what each college could do to help him. Shouldn’t Every kid choosing a college be thinking the same way?

7576DAWG

September 19th, 2012
9:39 am

Vonn Bell needs to stop showing his ignorance or insulting our intelligence. This kid is trying to make himself out to be something special and he want teams fighting over him. He made up his mind years ago. There was no need in all that drama. Just commit and be done with the entire process.

nate from detroit

September 19th, 2012
9:45 am

After seeing Bell play in person, I believe he is a better offensive player. I saw him against Calhoun and his cover skills are average at best and he tackled high all night. Part of his problems in coverage could be he was defending against Taylor Lamb who might be the best QB in the state. He gets away with the tackling now but he won’t in D-1 when he is trying to tackle bigger backs.
When he ran the ball he showed great speed and vision. The biggest downside I saw from him was that he has diarrhea of the mouth and talks trash after every play.

G-Dawg

September 19th, 2012
9:54 am

“What is your graduation plan for me?”

Shouldnt that be his plan, and not the coaching staffs?