Wednesday, January 30, 2013
DB Bell excited about Vols under Jones
By Kipp Adams
The official visits and in-home visits are over for ESPN 150 safety Vonn Bell (Rossville, Ga./Ridgeland). Ohio State was thought to have an early lead for the 6-foot, 190-pound defensive back, then Alabama surged ahead last fall. Over the last week however, a new frontrunner might have emerged.
After a long recruiting road, Vonn Bell appears close to a decision.
“Last Monday, Butch Jones and the defensive staff came to my house with Krispy Kreme and spent time with my family, and that was really good,” Bell said. “It was really special seeing Coach Jones open up.”
Over the weekend, Bell took the official visit to his in-state program, Tennessee (the Tennessee-Georgia state line cuts right through Rossville, Ga., outside Chattanooga, Tenn.). Growing up a fan of the Volunteers, Bell felt knowing which direction the school was going was imperative as he tries to find the best place to go to college.
“The official visit to Tennessee was very important to see what Butch Jones is going to do there,” Bell said. “It was a good experience spending time with Butch Jones and his family. He won games at Cincinnati, but it is a different story in the SEC, so I wanted to see what he brings to the table.”
During his official visit, Bell could not help but notice he was wanted by the Volunteers’ fanbase.
“When I was at the Tennessee basketball game, they all started chanting my name,” Bell said. “Me being a Tennessee boy, they all said they want me and they need me. That was really touching, and I enjoyed that.”
Bell is buying into what the new staff is hoping to do in Knoxville, Tenn., as well.
“They are really trying to bring something to Tennessee, and Coach Jones told my family he has a vision for this program,” Bell said. “It was great getting to know Coach (Willie) Martinez, Coach (Tommy) Thigpen and all of the coaches. I am really comfortable with Coach Jones, and he is coming in confident in what he is going to do there, so it will be really good to just sit back and see the results.”
The potential for early playing time is there for Bell, who has been likened to a former Volunteers standout now starring in the NFL.
“It is a real blessing to be able to possibly have an impact like Eric Berry had at Tennessee,” Bell said. “He is a phenomenal player, and although I think I would make a big difference, it takes more than one person. You have to have an offense, special teams and bring it all to the table. So we will see how they end up and what happens with them over the next week.”
Come signing day, Tennessee could have several additions to the commitment list, including Bell, five-star defensive end Carl Lawson (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton), ESPN 150 wide receiver Marquez North (Charlotte, N.C./Mallard Creek, ESPN 300 quarterback Josh Dobbs (Alpharetta, Ga./Alpharetta), four-star defensive end Jaylen Miller (Gaffney, S.C./Gaffney), among others. Bell is not surprised about the quick influence the coaching staff has had since coming in back in December.
“Tennessee is doing really good in recruiting, and Butch Jones is reaching out to these families and selling his program well,” Bell said. “He is trying hard to get Tennessee back to where they were, and he is bringing a lot of energy that I feel positive about. This staff Tennessee is bringing in, you can feel the positive energy when you walk through the doors.”
Bell says he has yet to come to a decision, though, and he plans to weigh out the pros and cons with his family and high school coaches this weekend. He might tell the coaches before signing day, or he might choose to call them with his decision on signing day.