Vonn Bell Decision Details

Miles Joseph's picture
January 29, 2013 at 5:37p

2013 Rossvile (GA) Ridgeland safety Vonn Bell has been one of Ohio States' top targets for quite some time. Bell has taken his time with the recruiting process. However, it's about to come to an end as he will be announcing his college decision on National Signing Day (02/06/2013) at 10 AM EST on ESPN. I caught up with Ridgeland head coach, Mark Mariakis tonight to get the details on Vonn's upcoming decision:

  • Alabama visit: "The Alabama trip went well. He was down there for their Championship parade on the Saturday. He also got to go to Coach Saban's house for a dinner and maybe a breakfast. He had a really good talk with Coach Saban."
  • Tennessee visit: "In Vonn's words, he said, "It was amazing." The family was pleased to see a big difference in the program from the last time they were there. They were also pleasantly surprised by the new environment on campus."
  • Ohio State/Urban: "He has had a good relationship with Coach Meyer from day one. Ohio State is obviously a great football program, with great tradition, but the persistency Coach Meyer and Coach Withers have shown toward Vonn has been incredible."
  • Potential Vandy visit/Recruiting coming to an end: "I think it's a possibility, but I don't think he ends up going down this weekend. The family is cutting off recruiting after Thursday and will not have contact with any colleges leading up to the decision. They're going to discuss things as a family Friday, then I will meet with the family Saturday, hopefully in the morning, to see if he's ready to make a decision."
  • Coaching visits: "I know Ohio State (Coach Withers), is coming Thursday morning. I don't know about the other two though. I called the schools today to tell them the family is shutting things down after Thursday."
  • No decision in mind: "I think it's going to be the toughest decision hes made in his life to this point. He's a relationships kid. He's really close with all of the coaches involved. It was hard for him in narrow things down to twelve and even harder for him to cut it to three. It will be tough for him to tell the other two schools no because he's just so close with coaches from all three schools. He's told me he could be happy at any three of the schools. It's going to come down to one really small factor for him and I don't know what that will be."
  • Factors: "The relationships with the coaches is very important. In addition to that, education is an important part of the puzzle. Early playing time will also be important for Vonn.

I could see Bell going to any of his three finalists: Alabama, Ohio State, and Tennessee. I'll stick with my prediction of Bama for now, but I may change it to the Bucks or Vols before signing day. One thing I definitely do know: No decision has been made.



SilverState's picture

Nice to know we'll be down there on Thursday, right before he shuts everything down.

tennbuckeye19's picture

"...He's a relationships kid. He's really close with all of the coaches involved. It was hard for him in narrow things down to twelve and even harder for him to cut it to three. It will be tough for him to tell the other two schools no because he's just so close with coaches from all three schools. He's told me he could be happy at any three of the schools. It's going to come down to one really small factor for him and I don't know what that will be."

I get that he grew up a Tennessee fan and they hold a special place in his heart and all, but with their recent coaching change, there's no way he can be as close relationship-wise to Butch Jones and his staff as he is to Urban and OSU or Saban and Bama. 

buckeye76BHop's picture

I'd agree with Miles, Silver and you too Tenn.  It's going to be between Bama and OSU IMO...and unfortunately I'm not changing that from Bama until Feb. 6th.  That way I'm either not surprised or I am and he picks the good guys (or I could also be surprised if he pulls a Diggs and stays home...sort of speak). 

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."

Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

AZBuckeyePhan's picture

UT & Bama gonna be tough to beat in this one. If we don't land Vonn it certainly IS NOT for lack of effort by this staff. They have gone all out for him. 

dubjayfootball90's picture

already got my PTO approved for Wednesday. Wake up early, get a gym trip out of the way, then NLOI DAY!!!!

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

abrahajc's picture

sounds like he legitimately is still deciding instead of already having his mind made up and letting it drag out.  Our coaches definitely left it all out there for this kid, and if he is on board this could possibly be the best DB recruiting class we've had in years.

Statutoryglory's picture

We are definitely the best education and post college career opportunities of that group.

WildBear Buckeye's picture

Let's not kid ourselves, the kid is going to major in communications, maintain a GPA just good enough to stay eligible, and hope to go in the first round after 3 years. If he doesn't make the NFL, his post college career is still almost guaranteed to deal with football one way or another (meaning his classroom education will be of secondary, though not negligible importance). Even the supposed braniacs Robert Smith and Craig Krenzel haven't made it to med school yet.

buckeyedude's picture

I agree with your comments Wildbear. These kids say that all the time(education is very important for me). And it may be true to a degree, but let's be real: these elite players(top 250 or so) want to play early, often and want to go to a school where they have a good shot at winning an NC.
That would be OSU and Bama.
I would be absolutely shocked if this kid picks a down and rebuilding Tennessee with a new coach.
Every time one of these kids says "education is of paramount importance," I just roll my eyes.
I know it was a stupid comment, but Cardale Jones said out loud what a majority of the elite athletes are thinking.



Toilrt Paper's picture

If early playing time is important to him it won't be 'bama.

NJ_BUCKEYE's picture

If I remember correctly (and it is entirely possible I don't remember the week leading up to the title game where I learned way more than I ever wanted to about 'Bama) the one really weak spot on the 'Bama defense was at Free Safety.  I know their safety was garbage at covering good recceivers or tight ends, and I know ESPN talked about them needing to upgrade the safety position for next season.

causeicouldntgo43's picture

"He also got to go to Coach Saban's house for a dinner and maybe a breakfast."
I'm not even going to try to touch that one...... 

BuckeyeLawyer's picture

Great minds think alike.  I wasn't going to touch that either.

harleymanjax's picture

Is a slumber party an NCAA violation?...... lol

"Because I couldn't go for 3"

FailtotheVictors's picture

MAYBE a breakfast.  

- Respect the Rivalry -

ODEEZ330's picture

After rrading this I still think hell be a buckeye. Awesome relationship with urb from day one loves withers. Possibly last team to see him before he shuts it down. Best education of finalists. Prob should start as a soph and see field as freshman. For some reason I'm really thinking he's a buckeye. In urban i trust lol

stark county football

drumsontheside's picture

Does anyone know much about his and his family's relationship with Saban and their staff?
It seems like we've heard a lot about his parents liking Withers especially, and now hearing about Urban's persistence, it would seem that if he's a relationship kind of guy that OSU would win that battle. 


lljjgg's picture

Miles -- I doubt his coach would have said anything one way or another on this, but apparently Andrew Bone from Rivals said that Bama won't be taking Bell because: 1) they don't have enough space (which they find a way around every year, anyhow) and 2) apparently they want Eddie Jackson for that spot.

Do you know if there's any truth to that, or whether it's just a rumor? Supposedly there was also a rumor that Vonn was now a Vols lock--but there seem to be a lot of rumors around NSD that don't pan out.

Born and Bred's picture

If it is true they are holding the spot for Eddie Jackson, then Von Bell will be on the outside looking in. Eddie Jackson just committed to Alabama this morning. 

Buckeye till I'm dead

cinserious's picture

The whole dinner AND breakfast thing seemed a bit inappropriate. Also i believe Bama is taking this recruitment just as seriously as Ohio St, and for good reason.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

buckeyedude's picture

The whole dinner AND breakfast thing seemed a bit inappropriate.

Agreed. And no lunch in between? What's up with that Saban? Actually...never mind.



buckeye4life050233's picture

Bell looked real good in the UA game.......if we land him and he progresses...........yikes who would want to face Bell, Bryant, Apple and Roby......they could be shut down and really force teams to try and run on us.......i always hate the off season......wish we could just go from season to season

d5k's picture

Bell and Apple won't be freshmen starters, but on the 2 deep.  Roby, Grant, Barnett, Bryant are highly likely to be the starting secondary but there's a possibility at Star for a freshman or sophomore.  But as sophomores those guys could likely both start.  They will be piranhas as freshmen.

kevinfrenchfry's picture

is it possible we dont get timmons, bell, wilson or clark at all? or is likely that at least one of them will committ to tOSU

acBuckeye's picture

If education is important, why is he considering two SEC schools?

buck-I.8's picture

Because he's like 99% percent of recruits, that don't actually care about the education. If every athlete was totally invested in education, then UCLA, USC, Stanford, Michigan, etc. would consistently have the best classes.

One Bad Buckeye's picture

Shooting from the hip here, but I don't think USC should be mentioned among the likes of UCLA, Stanford or scUM.  

"I'm One Bad Buckeye, and I approve this message."

buck-I.8's picture

Well whether you value US News and World Report's list or not, having USC ranked at 24, with Michigan at 28 is nothing to scoff at. That said, I could add Wake Forest or Northwestern to supplement my point, which is that football is the first factor of the decision, with academics somewhere down the list on a case by case basis.

d5k's picture

OSU wouldn't be that far away from most of those schools in undergrad academics.  And OSU wins in terms of breadth of major options.  And a bright kid has plenty of opportunities to be challenged in engineering, math, business or whatever at OSU.  The average student at OSU may not be as challenged as the average student at Michigan/Northwestern/Stanford but the top few thousand students at any given time get a very good education at OSU.  In other words there are plenty of opportunities you just get less people taking full advantage due to the broad enrollment at the school (which is definitely not a bad thing).

buckeyedude's picture

You beat me to it, One Bad. The Cal Bears would have a better team than USC if education really mattered most to these kids.



FROMTHE18's picture

Just seems like Withers may be able to pull this one off for the staff...keep reading about Bama not being too involved with Bell because of space limitations and they want to go after another offensive player...so if those rumours are true its between UT and OSU and youd have to favor OSU in that situation, especially if coaching relationship is the #1 thing for him...who knows though, high school kids are unpredictable.

Alex's picture

FWIW I am hearing the staff is "feeling good about Bell for whatever reasons"....as I said, take it for what it's worth and we will find out in a week

actionstanleyjackson's picture

That would be some kind of signing day present 

Stay golden, Ponyboy.

buck-I.8's picture

Mike Farrell is tentatively saying we have the edge as well

LouGroza's picture

Eddie Jackson just verballed to Bama this morning as mentioned above. From everything I have read he was the one Bama wanted ahead of Vonn Bell. And in obtaining Jacksons verbal they are "full" at that position and will not want anyone else. Now, having said that, I am absolutely positive that if Vonn wants to go to Bama, Saban will make room for him in some way shape or form. Even the insiders this info came from basically said the same. I would think this would eliminate Bama from Vonns decision, in my opinion.
Tennessee on the other hand has insiders saying he has already verballed to them. This could be guys making mash in the bathtub, I do not know. If this is false I hope he chooses OSU for obvious reasons.

Citrus's picture

Yeah, insiders named Skeeter(literally). He could very well end up a Vol but I don't put to much credence in these tenn insiders. 

chromedomebuck's picture

This may be a better place to put this...and kinda compliments Alex's comment about the staff "feeling good" perhaps...
Mike Farrell believes Vonn will be a Buckeye come NSD. Direct quote from a Rivals recruiting articles dated 1/30 (today): "...but Vonn Bell is the toughest one to figure. I said it would be Alabama then but now it appears to be a battle between Ohio State and Tennessee. There is a lot of smoke about a silent Tennessee commitment and I know Bell's parents loved Knoxville, but a reliable source told me that the Buckeyes still have the edge despite the excellent visit to the Vols. I'm going to say Ohio State, but not with a ton of confidence."
Link: http://footballrecruiting.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1466101

Champions Bleed Scarlet & Gray

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

I read a tweet from Mike yesterday that he believes Bell will go to OSU.  I do believe it is between us and UT.  There was also a rumor that Saban informed Bell there wouldn't be room for him at Bama when he was on his OV down there.  Again, that is just a rumor. 

acBuckeye's picture

If Urbz does visit him tomorrow, and is able to leave the final, lasting impression, I think it will do wonders for our chances of landing him.

buck-I.8's picture

Coach Withers is coming, but that may be just as beneficial. The relationship between Vonn and his recruiter is pretty important.

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

We have the last crack at him tomorrow before he shuts down his recruitment.  That is a plus for us.  I'd say it's between us and UT. 

OSU2002Grad's picture

I think Bell would prefer to be a Tennessee Vol - if all things were equal, which they are not.. It seems to me that his major apprehension about the program from beginning has been a lack of stability or championship-calibar talent on the essential offensive positions. By picking up Marquez North yesterday and possibly picking up a few more (including Carl Lawson) before signing day, they have to be the favorite.

Goose's picture

I just can't see a player of that caliber choosing Tennessee when they're in an obvious rebuilding situation following the Kiffin/Dooley debacles.  They're a minimum of two years from even being competitive in the SEC.

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

If Bell goes to UT he will not see a conference title or shot at a national title while he's there.  If he does, it will surprise me.  UT's defense is atrocious.  I saw just about every single game of their's last year and it was unbearable. 
For the record... I live in TN and my wife is a UT fan.  I don't willingly watch every UT game. 

tennbuckeye19's picture

You deserve a medal.
My wife is not a big football fan, but her parents are UT grads and the majority of her family is as well. I've watched more than my share of UT football over the years, and honestly, the Dooley regime was as close to rock bottom as I've seen. 
Do you live in Middle Tenn by chance?

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

Yes... I live in Murfreesboro.

SilverState's picture
Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

Well...  Hopefully our staff gets some good news this weekend or whenever Bell makes the call. 

BuckeyeCash22's picture

So this morning, listening to the sports radio in Nashville on my way to work they had the "UT Indsider" on and he said for Bell it was down to UT and Bama, and made no mention what so ever about Ohio State, and clearly we all know that Withers was there for the final in home before Bell cuts off the recruiting until NSD.
Just want to give a big shout out to the 11W recruiting staff, always on top of everything, and it blows everyone else out of the water. 

buckeyedude's picture

OK. So this UT insider has OSU eliminated, which even with my Scarlet & Gray colored glasses makes no damn sense whatsoever.
I'm feeling very good about OSU's chances with Vonn. Not even "cautiously" optimistic. Just plain ol' optimistic.
Bama? They are at the top right now. Yes they have their program in position to play for an NC, but it seems they're oversigned. He'll have to wait in line to play. 
Tennessee? C'mon. I know it's happened before(Diggs---->Maryland), but he has next to 0 chance of playing for a NC at UT in his three years there.
That would leave Ohio State. If Vonn is a clear thinking individual, and looks at the situation logically, Ohio State would be his obvious choice. Good academics, he'll likely play early(maybe not start, but he will play as a true freshman, IMHO), and a shot at the NC