The focus of this week’s Empire Recruiting Spotlight is on Rossville, Gorgia’s Vonn Bell. Bell is a 4*/5* Safety prospect in the 2013 class who is about as high on the Buckeye’s radar list as possible. His recruitment has been carried out very professionally, and everybody is going crazy over this star safety.
Bell is a ball hawk who isn’t afraid to lay the wood. He flies around the field and looks so smooth doing it which is probably why his nickname is V-Smooth. Bell fits into what Ohio State wants to do with their defense, and he has the opportunity to come in and compete for playing time as a freshman. One article even brought up the idea of him being able to play on both sides because of how well he runs, and the exciting part about having Coach Urban Meyer is that he wants to get playmakers on the field. I don’t necessarily think we end up seeing Bell on the offensive side of the ball, but he is a playmaker that would be an upgrade for the Buckeyes in the secondary.
I think Bell has handled the recruiting process in one of the most mature fashions that I’ve witnessed. Bell has never once, to my knowledge, released any negative comments about any team or even hinted at a team being cut for any negative reasons. He doesn’t have any enemies out there unlike many other recruits that want to be in the spotlight. His maturation definitely shows through his actions. That was prevalent within the last step of his process as he made schools answer questions to be apart of his final three. Those three questions: How can you help me in my career/job after college, what would be my graduation plan at your school, and where and when do I play on your football team?
I love these three questions because it shows his approach to college. Here at The Ohio State University, we want well-rounded student-athletes that will represent the Buckeyes well on and off the field. Bell’s questions show that he’s definitely interested in what’s happening off the field. He has a desire to finish college and be prepared for a career that doesn’t revolve around him playing football.
His last question is a little more of the type of question we, in the recruiting field, are used to; and it seems that Ohio State and Tennessee both answer this question similarly; but I think the Buckeyes have a slight advantage in the X’s and O’s department. Tennessee and Ohio State are assumed to be Bell’s top two schools with Alabama muscling their way into this final three. I wouldn’t say ‘Bama is out, but when you consider the third question, you have to think they’re trailing the other two schools.
Tennessee and Ohio State both start a pair of Junior safeties, and both teams don’t have young depth behind the starting group. These guys will be Seniors when Bell begins playing college ball which gives him a year to get settled into wherever he’s going to play, which I’ll talk about in just a second. Alabama, on the other hand, has one Senior with a group of talented Sophomores and Freshman behind the starters. The Buckeyes and Volunteers seem to have the obvious edge when it comes to depth, but as I said above, I give the Buckeyes the slight advantage in the X’s and O’s.
When Coach Urban Meyer was hired at Ohio State, he said he was going to put together the best coaching staff in the country. The Buckeyes may not be operating at the maximum level in any aspect of their game, but change takes time, players are still getting comfortable, and the level of talent is being improved. That’s where guys like Vonn Bell come in to play.
Bell has the ability to give the Buckeyes an All-Star group of incoming DB’s and take this Silver Bullet’s secondary to a new level. The Buckeyes are bringing in two top five CB’s in Cameron Burrows and Eli Woodard, a 4* Safety in Jayme Thompson, and a 3* S/LB Darron Lee. The addition of Bell would allow Lee to play the “Star” position which would give the Buckeye defense versatility. These five players could be just what Ohio State needs to get their defense up to that ‘Bama level like everybody is expecting.
These guys are joined by a group of DL that is starting to really stock up, and the ’12 group of LB’s is very athletic; so the growing trend seems to be get DL and work on either the LB’s or DB’s each year. However future classes work out, one thing that was expected and has been proven is that Coach Meyer is an excellent recruiter. In the recruitment of Vonn Bell, Marc Givler tweeted this:
There’s a couple different trains of thought out there on where Bell will end up. Georgia commit, Nick Glass, said in an interview that Vonn Bell would end up committing to Tennessee; and in the article “Vegas-Style Odds on Who Lands 5-Star Electric Rectuit Vonn Bell” by Bleacher Report, they believe Ohio State has better odds to land Bell because of Coach Meyer and depth. I think the general feel from fans is that Bell will end up playing for his childhood favorite, Tennessee, but Bell has come out and stated that he thinks his decision will surprise a lot of people, and Michael Carvell, a recruiting writer in Atlanta, Tweeted this:
This leads me to an interesting point, how does Bell know his decision will surprise a lot of people if he hasn’t made it yet? I can’t find the tweets, but one of Bell’s friends shot tweets out awhile ago about Bell committing to OSU. There was a picture of Bell on the phone with a smile on his face and another of him making an ‘O’ with his hands, but even the ‘O’ he was making was controversial. His friend said something to me along the lines of, ‘just wait and see’. I don’t think that Bell is silently committed, but I do think that Ohio State fits into a lot of the tidbits that we are getting through this process.
A key date to remember for Ohio State and Vonn Bell is September 6th as the Buckeyes host Nebraska (3-1) in a huge showdown. Not only does the game match two of the better B1G teams this year, but it gives Bell a chance to see Buckeye Nation fill the ‘Shoe under the lights which always is a special experience. Bell will get to take in the sights and emotions along with 2013 Buckeye DB commits Cam Burrows, Eli Woodard, and Darron Lee; so this experience might just be enough to persuade Bell to be a Buckeye.
A decision date is unknown at this time, but if the process pushes into post-season play then you have to give the Buckeyes a great chance as Coach Meyer will have a little more time on his hands to persuade Bell.
That’s all from the Buckeye Empire Recruiting front for now, but make sure to keep checking back for updates on Vonn Bell as well as other recruits. We’re now adding weekly installments of the recruiting mailbag, which answers questions that you ask to us, and a weekly rundown, which is loaded with tidbits of football and basketball recruiting information from the previous week. We’re striving to inform our viewers, so make sure to bookmark the page and keep checking back; and as always, follow me on Twitter @EmpireJarrid