Vonn Bell: 5-star ponders over three finalists

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.

Why won't Nick Saban raid Georgia again for an elite prospect? Alabama is the rumored frontrunner for 5-star DB Vonn Bell (AP)

Will Nick Saban raid Georgia yet again for an elite prospect? Alabama is a rumored frontrunner for 5-star DB Vonn Bell (AP)

“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.

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“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.




– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

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64 comments Add your comment

Kenny Stabler Jr.

October 25th, 2012
12:33 am

Let’s be honest, Coach Saban just has his eyes on players from other states. If he really wanted anybody from Georgia, including Nkemdiche or Foster, they would sign with Alabama. Nobody wants to play for that preacher pretending to be a football coach.

Mountain Dawg

October 25th, 2012
1:04 am

Might as well. Saban’s already gotten everyone else.


October 25th, 2012
1:25 am

Mountain Dawg, don’t sound so pitiful.

Bama Fan#2

October 25th, 2012
4:33 am

As Big Bam 3 says sign up with Bama or get steam rolled!!!!!!!!!!


October 25th, 2012
5:03 am

NCAA investigating the recruitment of Bama commit DT Darius Paige 6′ 3″ 295 lbs who suddenly transferred from Washington H.S.(FL) to Foley H.S. (AL) for what Paige acknowledged as favorable academic treatment.

Seems the NCAA has located a computer belonging to the Athletic Director of Washington H.S. that had been used in accessing various recruiting sites with names like “Tigerbait65″ shopping Darius Paige’s services to LSU. Two officials at Washington H.S. have already been reprimanded.

Interesting to see how Nick Teflon Saban deals with another recruiting circus… this one could blow up in his face!

“Stick with Richt”

“BELIEVE” in the “G”

Bama Fan#2

October 25th, 2012
5:12 am

The high school football coach at Foley High School said the NCAA and
Alabama High School Assos. looked in to the Paige kid transfer in Foley
and found nothing!! The DA at Washington HS is the problem behind the
mess!!! RTR

Bitter Q/B

October 25th, 2012
5:43 am

Go ahead and buy into the –LITTLE USED CAR SALESMAN—-


Losing My Religion

October 25th, 2012
7:05 am

Will Alabama’s Nick Saban pluck another 5-star out of Georgia?

Only if he wants to.


October 25th, 2012
7:39 am

Who cares…… this man has always been a master recruiter always, and we always get talent and seem not to coach them up…..so who cares.


October 25th, 2012
7:39 am

What about tech…….HA

Hold on!!!!

October 25th, 2012
7:55 am

@ Kenny – You are an idiot to think That if Saban want Foster or Robert he could have them. They are 2 of the top 5 prospects in the Nation…..HE DEF WANTED THEM!!!! These 2 players just did not want Saban….


October 25th, 2012
8:02 am

Where has Rodney Garner been during this recruiting season….@ The Golden Corral and the Chocolate Wonderfall…flew all the way to Kansas to see Toby Johnson and visit as many Corrals out there as possible!!

ATL Sports Fan

October 25th, 2012
8:16 am

Rhall and Carvel- Von Bell is not from Georgia nor does he live in Georgia. He goes to school in NWGA because his mother teaches there. He actually lives in Tennessee. Why didn’t you mention that?

David C

October 25th, 2012
8:20 am

When you win 2 National Championship in 3 Years and in line for another one this year you can pretty much hand select who you want to play for a school. Kids are lining up to trying to get into Alabama. Also doesn’t hurt that 18 Players in the last 3 Years were drafted to the NFL. Best in Conference to go with Best Win/Loss Record for the last 3 years and not even close.. These are all Facts not just a Fan making crap up…


October 25th, 2012
8:35 am

While some programs limit access for NFL scouts, Saban rolls out the crimson carpet for them. “I’ve always said you could call Alabama and say, ‘The only time I can come to Tuscaloosa is at 3 a.m.,’ and they would let you in,” said Phil Savage, an analyst for Alabama’s radio network and the former general manager of the Cleveland Browns.

Home of Champions

October 25th, 2012
8:42 am

With all due respect to the 123 other schools that play major-college football, the sport’s foreseeable future boils down to one question: Can anyone stop Alabama?

The Alabama Crimson Tide, college football’s defending national champion, has become the game’s “it” team, an all-powerful and impervious Death Star of a program. Alabama has won two of the last three national titles. Its coach, Nick Saban, won another one while he was at Louisiana State—meaning he has won the title in three of the past seven college seasons he has coached.


October 25th, 2012
8:44 am

Why is everyone else “moving on” with this kid? Seems like he has stated his three finalists but is disappointed no one else is still calling. A little narcissistic…..Also sounds like his coach is trying to shop him for a bigger gig by stating that he is undecided (still a free agent).


October 25th, 2012
8:45 am

Bammer situation sounds similar to the state of affairs USC had going when Pete Carroll was there….give it a little while and the NCAA will find dirt and Saban will be out of there in a hurry.

Home of Champions

October 25th, 2012
8:47 am

Nick Saban’s teams have had an average APR Score of 960.17, which is considered above average. Another “Noteworthy Item” is that Saban has a great record of producing NFL Talent. On average, he has 4.78 players taken in the NFL Draft per year.

German Shepherd Dawg

October 25th, 2012
8:59 am

Vonn Bell isn’t from GA. He’s from TN, and attends school just across the border because of his mother’s job. He grew up a UT fan.

UGA was never in serious consideration, I don’t think.


October 25th, 2012
9:00 am

“We always talk to our players about playing 60 minutes in the game, and … winning the fourth quarter is the most important thing that you can do in sort of trying to wear the other team down, which is the style that we play.

“There’s no scoreboard for us as a team. We’re trying to play our best all the time. Sometimes we’ve been able to do that; sometimes we haven’t. It’s consistency that we’re really looking for for 60 minutes of the game.”


October 25th, 2012
9:07 am

What Saban preaches day in and day out to his players and staff is the tested and true fundamental known as process focus. Saban teaches his players to stop actually thinking about winning and losing and instead focus on those daily activities that cause success.

He encourages his players to adopt a definition of success defined not by results, but rather by effort. Instead of emphasizing scoring touchdowns, he asks players to define themselves with such things as completing each set in the weight room or completing practices with 100% intensity. Saban states: “Everybody wants to be a success. Not everybody is willing to do what they have to do to achieve it.”

nate from detroit

October 25th, 2012
9:27 am

Let’s examine this situation. Bell has lived in the Chattanoooga area all his life and has always been a Vol fan. When he finds out what UT’s situation is he will probably commit to Tutorsee. I think he is just waiting to see if Dooley is canned(probable) and if they hire Kirby (maybe) that will be the clincher.


October 25th, 2012
9:32 am

Move on, folks. Nothing to see here other than UGA mired in mediocirty. Do I sound bitter? Well, I guess so. Nothing will change this mediocre atmosphere in Athens until UGA changes the entire coaching staff now present.

Bama Time

October 25th, 2012
9:33 am

SEC, you are preaching but most people do not want to hear that. I do. A lot of these kids do not need a BFF coach that some coaches and schools try to be. They do not realize what it takes to be successfull on the field and off the field. Saban has had his failures but he has had more success stories.

Chi Town

October 25th, 2012
9:35 am

Lot of disgruntled mutt fans on here today. I’d be more worried about the Gators hanging 50 on y’all than Lord Saban taking another recruit from the Peach state.


October 25th, 2012
9:40 am

This isn’t anything new. We supply all of our surrounding states with their best players.


October 25th, 2012
9:54 am

You UGA are goofy pretenders! Give Saban and the Bama program the respect they have earned. I hope you beat UF so you can wear them black-out uniforms in SECCG against us in Atlanta you twirps. Saban, Cochran, and Co. will put your team in body-bags again. RTR!


October 25th, 2012
9:55 am

As others have mentioned, he did transfer from Central to Ridgeland. Any that has followed his recruiting knows who his ‘leader’ is. There has even been rumors of a secret commit. Yet, this school is named in the poll as an upset??? Do some RESEARCH. Rename the headline to read, can Bama pluck a commit from tOSU.


October 25th, 2012
9:57 am

Why not. The only reason they don’t get more…or them all is because of Limit numbers. Let’s be honest, if you are 5 star all world and have your pick, Bama as of now will be a hard look for any kid in Georgia. There is an 800 pound Gorilla in the room in Athens, and you can deny all you want, but to play for a NC, you have to look over there…and he’s lining up his 3rd over there now….with 8 new starters by the way. Until someone puts the Georgia program on the uptick, it’ll be that way. Sure , Mark gets some talent, but think over a 4 year cycle of recruiting of what our roster would look like if these 4 or 5 Top notch studs leaving the state every year were in Athens. Put 20 in there. Big difference.

You must be an Obama man

October 25th, 2012
10:11 am

@Bama Fan#2
“The high school football coach at Foley High School said the NCAA and
Alabama High School Assos. looked in to the Paige kid transfer in Foley
and found nothing!! ”

Sure they did. And the economy is great!

abe lincoln

October 25th, 2012
10:38 am

Another situation where Georgia bailed. Our attitude is we will take what is left. Sign 5 OL per class with on exceptions.

Crimson Turd

October 25th, 2012
10:39 am

What happens when Alabama loses to LSU in the Bayou next weekend?

Brainiac (CMR/UGA Fan For Life)

October 25th, 2012
10:48 am

@ Kenny Stabler Jr:

“Let’s be honest”

What a friggin joke! You are a bigger liar than Obama!!! Saban has spent way too much time trying to sway a Top of the Line qb and DB that are committed to UGA(spent 90 minutes talking with our QB and offered the DB a scholarship.Saban has pulled out ALL STOPS trying to get players from Georgia like Ray Drew, Jay Rome, Malcome Mitchell, Jordan Jenkins, Isaiah Crowell, Nkemdeche, Foster and about 100 others. Of course he has to look somewhere because Alabama just doesn’t produce very many D-1 players.

You are about as much Kenny Stabler Jr. as you are Superman. Isn’t KS, Jr. the same dude that threw the ball out of bounds on 4th down to stop the clock in a loss to Tennessee??? Typical Bammy born and raised but had Reggie Ball Syndrone. Couldn’t count to 4.

Seriously, Stabler was one of the All-time Greats although he threw the ball with the wrong hand!!!!!!!!!!


October 25th, 2012
10:59 am

Ruben needs to come home

A person SMART enough to know.....

October 25th, 2012
11:00 am

Does it matter?

A person SMART enough to know.....

October 25th, 2012
11:02 am

I hear his MOM likes GaState….They graduate Black Student Athletes better than his top 3.

The Bear

October 25th, 2012
11:26 am

Saban is a firm believer in defense and secondary ball players are his specialty. DB’s are a lot harder to get and teach than “D” linemen. This equates to shut the pass down and load the box with “D” linemen regardless of how many stars they have or had. Oh one other thing coaching goes along way.

Roll Tide

ATL Sports Fan

October 25th, 2012
11:31 am

Hilarious saying taking one from the peach state. Chi town he lives in Tennessee, he goes to school in GA because his mom is a teacher at the high school. Seems more like taking one from the volunteer state to me.

Les W. Moore

October 25th, 2012
11:31 am

He is the next Trey Burton (although smaller). And who signed him?

The Bear

October 25th, 2012
11:35 am

Really who cares what state a player is from? What dictates that a player has to play for the state he or she lives in or born?

Flo - Ri - Duh

October 25th, 2012
12:17 pm

So there you have it – Bell will be another Tide commit come signing day. What’s the big mystery about that. UGA has moved on. This is another filler article because of your lack of any real news. Like Foster, Bell is not from Georgia and never was brought up a Georgia fan.

Flo - Ri - Duh

October 25th, 2012
12:20 pm

When Chizik gets fired Reuben Foster will flip flop again for Bummer…… Auburn is a mess right now and at least one head coach and 4 years away from being average.


October 25th, 2012
12:38 pm

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.


October 25th, 2012
12:40 pm

We will give him the best car at Bama!

Rick James

October 25th, 2012
12:49 pm


October 25th, 2012
1:09 pm

Hold on Vonn. Nick Saban has some competition now. Jon Gruden coming to Tennessee! The Vols will be back. Huge rumors all over the internet and on Rocky Top. Vol Nation —-all jacked up. Gruden has “direct connections” to the NFL too.


October 25th, 2012
1:37 pm

Hey coach, Ohio State will not be practicing for a bowl, don’t believe they are eligible are they?


October 25th, 2012
1:55 pm

Tennessee, as it always has been. also Vonn Bell is not 5′11″. He is over 6′. Nice try though. Unless Georgia is midget ball you can see that he is not 5′11″ by simply watching his junior Highlights.


October 25th, 2012
2:17 pm

Dawg Gawn…. . “Two officials at Washington H.S. have already been reprimanded”

Yes for dispersing a students privacy protected grade info to the public. Other than that please continue with your moronic posts.