Not much has changed over the last month with Vonn Bell, one of the state’s top five uncommitted football prospects.
Probably the biggest news was something that didn’t happen — the 5-star safety from Ridgeland High School wasn’t able to make an official visit to Ohio State, which is one of his three finalists, along with Alabama and Tennessee.
“He was going to Ohio State two weeks ago, and it just became a logistical nightmare,” Ridgeland coach Mark Mariakis told the AJC.
“He was trying to catch a red-eye flight out of Nashville at 2 a.m. in the morning, get up to Ohio State, and get back on Sunday to be back at school on Monday. It just wasn’t feasible to do it and enjoy himself. I think he’s going to wait until after our season for his official visits.
“Hopefully, those teams are at bowl practices or something. Hopefully, our team (at Ridgeland) will be playing deep into the winter. There’s no official visits set up right now.”
Not only has the 5-foot-11, 190-pounder not scheduled any official visits, Bell also has not set a deadline for his decision. It could come at anytime, however, although Bell would like to try to observe Ohio State in a game or at a practice before announcing. He’s already seen his other two finalists, Alabama and Tennessee, in action.
“He doesn’t have to take visits to decide,” Mariakis said. “I think he wants to take visits, but I don’t think it’s necessary. He has been to all three places, so it’s not like he’s going to discover something new. He has been to Tennessee and Alabama games. He has been to Ohio State’s campus, but he has not been to a game there.
“I think that is one thing he would like to do, catch an Ohio State football game at home. That’s the only thing he hasn’t done. If he will get a chance to do that, I don’t know. It’s just according to when we can get it planned.”
And what about an announcement date? “He could decide at anytime,” Mariakis said. “He could pull up to practice today and say ‘Coach, I’ve made a decision.’ I think most of the information is in his head. His family is watching the games (of his finalists), seeing how they are doing, and waiting to see if there are any major changes on anybody’s campus after the season is over with.”
UGA, nor any of the other schools that Bell recently scratched off his list, have made much of effort to get back in the race. Bell attended Auburn’s football game against LSU, but it was more to see a good game rather than renewed interest in the Tigers.
“I haven’t heard from Georgia or really anybody else besides those three schools,” Mariakis said. “Those three are in contact as much as they can be. I think Georgia has moved on and is trying to get other recruits.”
Bell, who resides near Chattanooga and commutes to Ridgeland because his mother teaches there, grew up a Tennessee fan. Alabama is a rumored frontrunner because of Ohio State’s distance and Tennessee’s struggles. However, Bell’s coach claims there is not a leader.
“He does not have one,” Mariakis said. “We talk all the time, and he is torn between all three. They all three bring something different and positive to the table. It was a tough choice going from seven colleges to three, and it’s going to be a tougher choice going from three to one. That’s not just a politically correct answer, it’s the truth. It’s just a very tough decision for him.”
Nick Saban has not had nearly the dominating in presence in Georgia as he had last year, when Alabama raided the state for eight prospects, led by Buford LB Dillon Lee and St. Pius DB Geno Smith. This year, Alabama has only two commits from Georgia, whiffing on No. 1 Robert Nkemdiche and watching former Troup LB Reuben Foster switch from Alabama to Auburn (and then cementing it with a gigantic Auburn tattoo on his forearm). However, Alabama is still a contender to finish with the nation’s No. 1-ranked recruiting class yet again; they’re just getting blue-chippers from other states.
WE’RE LESS THAN FOUR MONTHS AWAY FROM SIGNING DAY
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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