Florida 2026 QB Dia Bell Says Ohio State Offer Made Him "Speechless" and Considers the Buckeyes His Dream School

By Garrick Hodge on March 22, 2024 at 10:10 am
Dia Bell

Since Dia Bell watched Ohio State win the national championship in 2014, the 2026 quarterback prospect has considered OSU his dream school.

That made the Florida prospect’s visit to Columbus surreal on Thursday, when he became the fourth quarterback offered by the Buckeyes in the 2026 cycle. 

“I was speechless,” Bell told Eleven Warriors of earning his OSU offer. “Ohio State has been a dream school for a long time so when coach Day offered me, I just kind of went blank.” 

The trip was Bell’s third visit to OSU as he previously camped at Ohio State last summer and attended the Buckeyes’ game against Penn State in October. Ryan Day normally waits until he sees a quarterback throw in person before he officially offers that signal caller, and with Day having watched Bell throw at camp nearly a year ago, he felt comfortable extending the offer to the Florida prospect on Thursday. 

“Coach Day and coach Chip Kelly told me they watched my film and they referenced it back to basketball, they said I played like a point guard. Coach Day referenced back to last year and said he saw me at camp and that he’s very comfortable extending the offer right now. I was very excited.” 

Thursday was Bell’s first opportunity to be around Kelly since the former UCLA and Oregon coach arrived at OSU. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound prospect said he had a productive conversation with Ohio State’s new offensive coordinator and looks forward to strengthening it over time.

“It was great to be around him,” Bell said. “I’m excited to continue to building a relationship with him. Obviously, it was my first time meeting him. But he knows what he’s doing being the head coach at UCLA and Oregon so I’m just excited to continue to learn from him.” 

Bell had the opportunity to take in OSU’s fourth practice of the spring and watch Will Howard, Devin Brown, Lincoln Kienholz, Air Noland and Julian Sayin all take reps. He was impressed with what he saw.

“They work really hard with their quarterbacks,” Bell said. “It’s a big responsibility being quarterback at Ohio State, so they coach hard. That’s what you expect at a school like Ohio State, so it was good to watch.” 

Ohio State has developed plenty of quarterbacks as NFL talents over the past few years and Bell has taken notice. He said the Buckeyes’ developmental track record at the position is the most appealing aspect of potentially playing for OSU one day.

“I’d say the history they have with their quarterbacks, like the C.J. Stroud’s and the Cardale Jones guys,” Bell said. “Just being able to play for such a program like that is really intriguing.” 

In Bell’s first season as a starter at American Heritage High School (Fort Lauderdale, Florida), he completed 122 of 189 passes (64.6%) for 1,929 yards with 20 passing touchdowns to just four interceptions.

“I learned a lot,” Bell said about his first year as a starter. “Honestly, you’re able to get used to that sort of game speed. I learned a lot about how to cope with how fast people move and the defensive identifications. I’m just trying to bring all of that into year two and build on that.”

Bell also ran for two touchdowns but said he only uses his legs when necessary.

“I consider myself a dual threat but I make sure I only run when I need to,” Bell said. “I’m never going to force a run, I’m always pass first and run second. That’s always been my philosophy behind it, I’m going to try and extend plays as much as possible before I use my legs.

When Bell was on his visit to OSU, he saw a familiar face. Former Heritage standout Brandon Inniss is expected to have his role increased in his second season at Ohio State, and has impressed in the team’s first few practices. Bell was excited to catch back up with the former Heritage all-world receiver.

“It was great, I stay in touch with him a little bit,” Bell said. “I know for sure he stays in touch with some of our wide receivers in our room right now at Heritage. It was great seeing him again.” 

One of those aforementioned wideouts is OSU 2026 target Malachi Toney, a teammate of Bell’s. Toney and Bell have had discussions about teaming up one day in college and about Ohio State.

“Definitely,” Bell said. “We talk about Ohio State and the school a good bit. Just talking about maybe wanting to play in college together, OSU is definitely a school that’s been talked about.” 

Whether Toney will eventually be an OSU wide receiver or not, Bell is also familiar with the Buckeyes’ staunch track record in producing elite wideouts at the collegiate level, which is another plus when considering Ohio State.

“It’s always appealing knowing that you’re going to have a great wide receiver corps at a school like Ohio State and a good offensive line corps as well,” Bell said. “It’s always good to be around guys like that.”

Bell is unclear on when exactly he’d like to make a commitment, as he’s considered a summer announcement after his visits but is still undecided on if that will be his official timetable. He says he hopes to make a return visit to OSU this summer and make another gameday visit to Ohio Stadium this fall. Bell said other schools standing out include LSU, Auburn, Penn State, Texas and Miami.

“I think it will come down to where I feel is best for me and where I feel like I’m going to get developed as a quarterback and man off the field to prepare me for the next level,” Bell said of the biggest factors surrounding his decision.

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