The University of Georgia coaching staff thought they were recruiting a defensive back named Vonn Bell (Rossville, Ga./Ridgeland). But after not seeing him on campus the last four months, they were beginning to think he did not exist. He was not present for the G-Day spring scrimmage last Saturday, but as the players started to board the buses, Bell arrived with his parents and some teammates, much to the surprise of the staff in Athens.
“They thought I was a ghost,” Bell said before breaking out into laughter. “I have been trying to get up there, but we both had things come up, so they were not sure if I was real or not. I had the ACT that morning so I missed the game, but I just wanted to come up and spend time with Coach [Mark] Richt. They were still very excited to see me.”
Shortly after his arrival, the Under Armour All-America Game selection was then escorted by his recruiter, offensive line coach Will Friend, to the Richt’s office, where Bell would spend the next hour catching up with the Bulldogs’ head coach.
“We spoke some about football, but really it was about him getting to know me and my parents,” Bell said. “Mark Richt is a good coach and very close to his players.”
Born in Kansas, Bell lived in Dallas for a few years before moving to Tennessee. In fact he still commutes from Ooltewah, Tenn. to Ridgeland where his mom is a teacher. His time spent in Athens might have been equal to his time on the road that day, but Bell said he and his family took a lot from the trip.
“It was a nice environment and it was good meeting the coaches,” Bell said. “This visit was just about hanging out and them getting to know my family. We will try to get back down there soon so my parents can check out the academics.”
Twenty-one offers have come in so far for the ESPN 150 prospect, but Bell still fondly remembers getting the news from the Bulldogs back in January.
“Georgia is always going to hold a special place in my heart because they were the first to see enough in me to offer, so that is very dear to my family and me, and it sticks out,” Bell said.
Before heading to Athens, Bell also made trips to Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, and Texas. With so many programs coming after Bell, the Ridgeland practices will likely be crowded over the next month during the spring evaluation period. Bell says all of the programs are showing equal interest, but the coveted safety is in the process of trimming his list soon.
“I will probably have a top five after my spring practice, so right now we are still weighing out the pros and cons of my options,” Bell said.