5-star safety Vonn Bell is arguably one of the most talented defensive back recruits in the country, and he's got a top three to prove it—Alabama, Ohio State and Tennessee.
All three are major college football programs ('Bama and Ohio State obviously being the better of the group right now) and all three would really benefit from getting a player of Bell's caliber.
Bell is 5'11.5'' and 190 pounds—which is decent size, but he should get bigger while training at the college level—and he runs a fast 4.45 40-yard dash according to 247Sports. He's a very aggressive defender who can come down to the line of scrimmage and play strong against the run, but he's quick and athletic enough to patrol the secondary. He can also go up and make a play on the football with the best of them in this class.
Kipp Adams of ESPN.com is reporting that Bell has set his official visits to all three programs:
Three schools are still in the running for ESPN 150 defensive back Vonn Bell (Ooltewah, Tenn./Ridgeland), and according to Ridgeland head coach Mark Mariakas, each program will have a chance to host the 6-foot, 190-pound safety next month following the Under Armour All-America Game.
"He's taking visits to all three schools in January," Mariakas said. "Ohio State on Jan. 11, Alabama on Jan. 18, and Tennessee on Jan. 25. That is the plan as of this afternoon."
With all three programs having a great chance to land Bell, here's what each must pitch to him during his official visits:
This one is simple. It's all about winning and competing for National Championships at Alabama, and the Crimson Tide provide Bell with arguably the best chance to do just that. Alabama is currently about to play Notre Dame for a second-straight National Championship, and with the way head coach Nick Saban recruits this program isn't going to fall off any time soon.
Bell fits 'Bama's defense perfectly, and he could be a big-time playmaker much like Mark Barron was for the Crimson Tide. He'll be able to come down to the line of scrimmage and play aggressive defense against the run, and that's a huge part of being successful in Alabama's defensive scheme. Saban will also put him in the best position to succeed as a pass-defender, so the Crimson Tide have a ton to offer the 5-star safety.
Urban Meyer may be the second-best coach in college football behind Saban, depending on who you're asking, so going to Ohio State would in no way be a step down. Meyer is also a terrific recruiter, so Bell can rest assured knowing that he'll have talent around him throughout his career if he chooses Ohio State.
There's also the fact that Meyer went 12-0 in his first season with the Buckeyes, and that was under a bowl ban. If anything, that should point to how good of a coach Meyer really is.
One could argue that the Buckeyes have just as good a chance to win a National Championship in the next few years as anybody, and at the very least Ohio State is poised to be the powerhouse team in the Big Ten once again.
Bell would have the chance to play for one of the most prolific programs in college football and be coached by one of the best in the country in Meyer. He'd also be a dominant defender in the Big Ten.
The Volunteers may seemed a bit outmatched in this equation, but they do have one advantage that Ohio State or Alabama do not have. Tennessee was actually Bell's favorite program as a kid according to Michael Carvell of ajc.com, and that could end up being the pitch that sets them apart from the two powerhouses.
Being able to play for the team you grew up loving is a dream for many athletes, and now that Derek Dooley is out and Butch Jones is the new head coach for Tennessee, the Volunteers can sell Bell on the chance to be a huge part of a new beginning at Tennessee.
He could be the next Eric Berry for the Volunteers. Actually, he could be the first Vonn Bell.
There may not be a better pitch than offering the potential to be one of the heroes that helps build up a program, especially if that program was a recruit's favorite growing up.