- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
The Akron (Ohio) Buchtel program has produced its fair share of BCS skill position players, and it is looking like senior receiver Elijah Bell will be the latest.
In the season opener, Bell snagged a pass out of the hands of a defensive back and proceeded to weave his way through some traffic to find the end zone for a 70-yard score.
After a strong junior season, Bell added offers this spring from Boston College and Air Force. Jim Bollman, a former Ohio State assistant, is recruiting Bell for the Eagles.
“He was saying he liked how I was a fast, big receiver, get out in the open field and make plays,” Bell said. “I can do a lot of things to help them.”
With an offer from Air Force and significant interest from Army, attending an academy is also on Bell’s mind.
“I’ve been thinking about it a lot. You got to be smart, so I’m seeing if I can make that next level,” said Bell, who said he owns a 3.2 GPA.
Akron, Nebraska, Temple and UCLA are a few other programs interested in Bell. Most schools are going to need to see at least a midseason highlight before offering Bell, though.
In the final game of the 2011 season, Bell broke his fibula and had four screws and a plate surgically placed in his leg. As a result, he decided not to participate in any camps, but he was healthy enough to play basketball last winter just a few months after the injury.
Now 100 percent healthy, Bell said he is back to doing what he does best. As a receiver, Bell says his biggest strength is going up and getting the ball no matter where the quarterback puts it. And he learned that from one of his Buchtel predecessors.
Juco receiver Corey Smith, a Buchtel product now with offers from the likes of Alabama, Georgia and a dozen more schools, taught Bell how to become a receiver during Bell’s sophomore year. Bell was a running back and linebacker originally for Buchtel.
“He told me you got to be quick off the line, get in the route,” Bell said. “He said wherever the quarterback puts to go get it. He got me after practice and said let’s get these routes in. It paid off a lot and I’m getting a lot of attention at receiver, and I thank him for that.”
450dTom Luginbill and Craig Haubert