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Wednesday, January 30, 2013
The Uncommitteds: Vonn Bell

By Alex Scarborough

Vonn Bell
ESPN 150 defensive back Vonn Bell brings explosive ability that the Crimson Tide and his two other finalists, Ohio State and Tennessee, covet.
Editor's note: From now until signing day, TideNation will examine the remaining uncommitted prospects still considering the University of Alabama. Today, we look at ESPN 150 safety Vonn Bell.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- For talented safety Vonn Bell, Alabama is simply Alabama. The championships, the draft picks and the defense need no further explanation.

"Alabama speaks for itself," he said.

Whether the Crimson Tide are singing the right tune for the product of Ridgeland (Ga.) High remains to be seen. He has said he will wait until signing day to make his college decision. Right now the battle is down to three: Ohio State, Tennessee and Alabama.

Whoever he chooses will land a four-star prospect with athleticism to spare. As a senior, he rushed for more than 1,000 yards, caught 18 passes for 627 yards and scored a total of 21 touchdowns. When he has the ball is in his hands, Bell can make plays.

It's part of what's drawn the Alabama coaching staff to Bell. The Crimson Tide hosted Bell on an official visit a little more than a week ago. The week before that, it was head coach Nick Saban paying the safety a house call.

As his high school coach Mark Markakis put it, UA has "rolled out the red carpet" for Bell. And given what his commitment would mean to the class, it's no wonder.

What his commitment would mean ...

Watching Alabama this past season it was clear that the secondary was in need of some help. LSU, Texas A&M and Georgia all gashed the defense for big plays through the air. And now that starting cornerback Dee Milliner and starting safety Robert Lester are off to careers in the NFL, the task of defending the pass will become all the more difficult.

The late surge from former four-star cornerback Geno Smith will help, but adding a prospect the caliber of Bell would do a lot to further the depth of the unit. His ability to play physical, press coverage might even allow him to play some cornerback at the next level, a position of need for the Tide. Deion Belue was up and down in his first year starting and junior John Fulton has done little to separate himself in three seasons under Saban.

Should Bell remain at safety, he'd be facing a crowded depth chart with Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, Landon Collins, Nick Perry, Vinnie Sunseri and Jarrick Williams all competing for playing time. But in Saban's complex system of masking coverages and moving around defenders, you can never have enough versatile defensive backs.

Last we heard...

Though there has been some speculation that Alabama would not have enough room to accept Bell's commitment, a source tells TideNation otherwise. Should he choose the Crimson Tide, the source said they'd accept.

While Tennessee might have the momentum after its last official visit with Bell, it wasn't that long ago that he was ready to commit to Alabama. After a few months to take his visits and ponder his decision, it's anyone's guess where he'll end up. On Monday, his coach told ESPN that the world will have to wait a few more days.

"Vonn Bell has not committed to Tennessee and he has not made any decision yet," Mariakas said. "He will sit down with his family and I this weekend to discuss that, and he will announce his decision next next Wednesday at 10:05 a.m. on ESPN."

Four-star Eddie Jackson's commitment to Alabama early Wednesday morning could effect both the University and Bell's plans moving forward. Jackson was the fourth defensive back prospect to commit to Alabama and the 22nd overall commitment.