Ridgeland High School has recently sent football standouts to Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma State and South Carolina, and the program will likely continue that tradition in 2013. Junior defensive back Vonn Bell made the first-team All-State selection with a school record 180 tackles, 119 solo, two tackles for loss, five interceptions, five fumbles recovered, three fumbles returned for touchdowns and three forced fumbles. Those stats go along with 37 rushes for 280 yards and five touchdowns, and 31 catches for 487 yards and six touchdowns after Bell transferred in from Central-Chattanooga High School in Tennessee with his mom, who teaches at Ridgeland.
Bell had hoped to get exposure against the high-level talent in the Peach State in order to earn offers to play in the Southeastern Conference, and it looks like he was successful.
“Every Friday there are great teams in Georgia competing, so it has helped me step up my game and get closer to becoming the type of player I can be,” Bell said.
One program has targeted Bell, and he got word to make an important phone call over the weekend.
“I was told to call Mark Richt, and as I was doing it; I could not even think straight,” Bell said. “I thought it was all a dream. When he answered, he said he was very excited to speak to me, that he liked my highlight tape, that all of the coaches were excited about me, and that he wanted to offer me a scholarship. I said that is big time. He wants me to come up for their junior day at the end of the month.”
With the opportunity to play for the in-state Bulldogs now a reality, Bell knows he is on the right track.
“It means the world to me that Georgia thought enough of me to offer,” Bell said. “All of my hard work has paid off. When I told my mom, she said, ‘Praise the Lord.’ She feels very blessed about the offer.”
Oklahoma State, Missouri, Tennessee and a couple of other schools are showing interest. The Tennessee Vols hosted Bell when they played South Carolina, and he said it was nice, but he said if they were to offer, he would not be a lock to return to the Volunteer State.
“An offer from Tennessee would not mean any more than Georgia just because I am from there,” Bell said. “Georgia is at the top right now for me.”
Bell, who says he is 6-foot and 190 pounds, is open to playing cornerback or safety.