It is now down to three schools for 5-star safety Vonn Bell: Alabama, Ohio State and Tennessee. After recent visits from all three coaching staffs, the Volunteers should be feared and respected as we are just days away from national signing day.
New Tennessee head coach Butch Jones and his staff visited Bell at his home. The impact he had was good enough to put pressure on both the Crimson Tide and the Buckeyes for one of the top defensive prospects in the country. Bell, who grew up a Tennessee fan, told Kipp Adams of ESPN that he really likes what Jones has brought to the program in just a short period of time.
They are really trying to bring something to Tennessee, and Coach Jones told my family he has a vision for this program. Bell said. It was great getting to know Coach (Willie) Martinez, Coach (Tommy) Thigpen and all of the coaches. I am really comfortable with Coach Jones, and he is coming in confident in what he is going to do there, so it will be really good to just sit back and see the results.
Jones, who was recently hired as the new head coach of the program, has wasted no time putting together a strong recruiting class that includes some impressive recruits. The team is also nowhere near being finished, as many elite players have Tennessee on their radar—including 5-star defensive end Carl Lawson, who is expected to make a decision soon.
So why will Bell pick Tennessee over the other two national powerhouses?
Well, he would have an opportunity for immediate playing time and could have the same impact that a former Tennessee safety had in Knoxville. Being a supporter of the program would allow him to fill out a child hood dream.
It is a real blessing to be able to possibly have an impact like Eric Berry had at Tennessee. Bell said. He is a phenomenal player, and although I think I would make a big difference, it takes more than one person. You have to have an offense, special teams and bring it all to the table. So we will see how they end up and what happens with them over the next week.
Bell also mentioned that he feels comfortable with the coaching staff and knows it is only a matter of time before Tennessee turns around in the win column. A program that hasn't won a bowl game since 2007 seems to be on the right track according to Bell, and that is something any recruit would want to be a part of.
Tennessee is doing really good in recruiting, and Butch Jones is reaching out to these families and selling his program well. Bell said. He is trying hard to get Tennessee back to where they were, and he is bringing a lot of energy that I feel positive about. This staff Tennessee is bringing in, you can feel the positive energy when you walk through the doors.
Considering the positive vibes Bell felt during his visit, the opportunity to see the field quickly and the recent surge of elite talent giving the program a glimpse, Tennessee has more than a puncher's chance in this fight.
Bell is expected to make his decision in the early morning on national signing day, and it wouldn't be the least bit surprising to see him end up a Tennessee Volunteer. The other teams that appeared to be front-runners should be worried as this race is drawing to a close.