Notebook: Bell brings home hardware from Oregon

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Of the seven Florida verbal commitments that competed in The Opening this past weekend, no one improved their stock more than Tre’ Bell (Jersey City, N.J./St. Peters Prep).

The four-star cornerback, who was the only UF commit in attendance that isn’t an ESPN150 member, put on a stellar showing at the elite combine.

Bell (center right) poses with his team and the 7-on-7 tournament trophy.

Bell made two interceptions and broke up several passes for his ‘Super Bad’ team, which won the 7-on-7 tournament Sunday.

“It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Bell said. “I went all the way out to Oregon and won the championship. It was amazing. I got to workout with Joe Haden, Patrick Peterson and Darrelle Revis. So I had a really great time.”

Bell “turned a few heads” and was one of standout players according to ESPN National Recruiting Director Tom Luginbill.

In May 2011, Bell was named the defensive backs MVP at the Rutgers Nike Football Training Camp as a sophomore. This past spring he participated in another Nike event and got invited to The Opening

But prior to this past weekend, Bell hadn’t taken part in any other combines during his high school career and felt many underrated him because of that.

He believes those days are behind him.

“I think people will start giving me respect now,” Bell said. “I’ve never been camp crazy. So I go out there all the time with a chip on my shoulder and try to put it all out on the field. I know what I can do, I just have to show everybody when I get opportunities like the one in Oregon.”

Joining Bell on the title team was fellow Florida commit Keanu Neal. The Bushnell South Sumter safety also made his fair share of stops in the secondary for Super Bad, including the last play of the championship game where he stepped in front USC quarterback commit Max Browne’s final throw and forced an incompletion in the end zone to seal the win.

“It was very exciting to play with Keanu,” Bell said. “I kind of figured I was going to be teammates with one of those guys because there were so many of us there. But to be teamed up with Keanu, I felt like it would be great with us both being defensive backs and it definitely was. When Keanu broke that last pass up, I was so happy.”

Rivals.com recruiting analyst Chris Nee said he expects Neal to get a bump in the Rivals250 after his performance at The Opening. He currently holds the last spot in the rankings at No. 250 overall as opposed to No. 65 in the ESPN150.

How the other five from Florida fared

Taylor has the hands to make plays in the passing game.

Belle Glades running back Kelvin Taylor and Crescent City defensive tackle Caleb Brantley — Florida’s highest ranked commits on ESPN — were also among the players that stood out to Luginbill.

He wrote that while Taylor’s greatest talent is his downhill running style, he showed that he has the skills to contribute out of the backfield as a receiver.

Taylor, rated No. 1 at his position by ESPN, only had two receptions last season for Glades Day. However, the pair of catches averaged 33.0 yards per play and one went for a touchdown.

Here was Luginbill assessment of Brantley, who was named the top 2013 defensive tackle at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge in late April.

“Very explosive and accounted well for himself … His main issue is that he tries too hard for the flash plays on occasion. He is good enough to win a lot of battles with explosion, size and power, but he gets himself in trouble when he tries to be flashy. Brantley has all the tools and once he learns how to better use those tools watch out.”

Fulwood gives Washington a friendly Gator Chomp at The Opening.

Jacksonville Trinity Christian commit Nick Washington wasn’t tested much from his safety spot, but his interception in round one of the 7-on-7 tournament secured a win for his Alpha Talon team (which Taylor was on as well).

Washington’s close friend, Jacksonville Bishop Kenny receiver Ahmad Fulwood, also didn’t have many balls thrown his way. But when he did, the 6-foot-4 wideout came down with some incredible catches and finished the tournament with two touchdowns.

Daytona Beach Mainland commit Quinton Powell, who earned his trip to The Opening by winning linebacker MVP at the Orlando Nike Football Training Camp, showed once again he can move well in space and make plays in coverage.

Powell said he and his future teammates delivered a strong statement in Oregon.

“We’re all great athletes and we proved that we have the ability to perform well in crunch time and compete against the best players in the nation,” Powell said. “We’re not just hyped-up recruits that are only rated high because we’re committed to Florida. We can play with the best and beat them.”

News & Notes

* ESPN150 defensive end Ebenzer Ogundeko (Brooklyn, N.Y./Thomas Jefferson) pushed back his decision and will now announce his commitment on July 24. His finalists are Florida, Notre Dame and Syracuse.

* ESPN150 athlete Levonte Whitfield (Orlando, Fla./Jones) named his top six over the weekend and Florida made the cut along with Clemson, Florida State, Miami, Ohio State and West Virginia. The 5-foot-9, 170-pounder ran the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds at The Opening.

* In addition to Haden, former Gator offensive linemen Maurkice and Mike Pouncey also coached in the combine.

All photos by Nike and Daniel Root Photography LLC.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Great work Zach! What a difference between how hard you work and the information you bring us.

    Vs.

    Fat Pat “Doo very very little” Dooley. He still still has the same BS story that starts out talking about himself (what else from a self absorbed has been) coming back from a vacation. I don’t have the stomach to read on past his self indulgent blah blah blah.

    Note to Fat Pat – no one cares about your vacation, your ipod or your deseparate attempts to self promote you supposed speaking tour!

    Please go on a permananet vacation, retire. Slip off into the sunset with your ipod and give someone that wants to do research and write stories about sports a place. You’re finito, admit it and get out.

  2. I also find Dooley’s drivel a waste of time and have not wasted my time reading his self centered garbage for a long time now. How he keeps his job is a mystery to many of us. Great job Zach, keep it up we love your efforts.

  3. MattinCO- if I am correct we are now at 82 ‘ships with 14 being seniors, which gives us 17 spots. However, Champ is predicting ~6 losses due to attrition (eg Elam, Floyd, Easley to NFL, 2-3 transfers) and is thus anticipating signing 23. With 18 commits, we probably have room for 5 more (6 if/when Dillan Lawson and his poor grades are dropped)

  4. For simplicity’s sake, Champ was telling recruits he’d take 22-23 before the Dante Phillips incident, so now the number is probably 23. I wouldn’t expect more than that at the moment.

  5. So good to see the Pounceys & Haden there at the combine. They’re great guys who have quite a connection with these young prospects/commits..
    This kid Powell sez “we’re not just hyped up recruits… we can play with the best and beat them “… now thats what I’m talkin” bout ! Now f these coaches can PROVE to be better than average, we should have a competitive team for the next couple years…(this year could be rough but we’ll see)

  6. NICELY DONE! GOOD STORY! I hope this kid comes in here (Hogtowne) and CHOMPS UP THE COMPETITION! GO GATORS!
    The FUTURE IS SO BRIGHT- Muschamp is probably contemplating which PRO TEAM TO COACH after the 2013-14 Season!
    Then, hopefully, Kerwin Bell and Shane, and Company will be GIVEN THE CHANCE!

  7. Great story Zach, I see things looking good even after the lost we had this past week. I think we land a few more good ones from the representation out in Oregon. Our guys did well and don’t think other kids were not watching to see the caliber of talent headed to FLORIDA. GO GATORS!!!!

  8. Hey Omaha_Gator, I’ll be EMK…”remember commits are just promises by 17 year olds. Quit getting exciting and having fun because until they sign it doesn’t matter. If Coach Muschamp doesn’t win this season he’s out! Why would any recruit sign with an unexperienced coach who hasn’t won anything? blah blah blah…I would be shocked if EMK was a Gator. He sounded more like a coach recruiting for one of our competitors!

  9. Falco, I actually laughed out loud when I read your post!! We should all try to predict what that poser EMK will post in regards to each article and beat him to the punch. Loved it!!, and Zach keep up the good work and the information flowing. Can’t wait until FNL so we can get our weekly installments of the recruiting mailbag.

  10. @applespie You are completely correct on most of what you say about Dooley, BUT this is the third time I have seen you going on rants about Dooley on Abolverdi’s articles. Get that out of here, don’t fill up Abolverdi’s comment section with Dooley hate. Dooley used to be a solid writer for the Sun, but maybe he feels too comfortable now that he has “tenure”.

    Zach, do you know if any of our commits did some successful recruiting while they were in Oregon? Also looking forward to the recruiting mailbag.