Christian Bell knew over the weekend that Alabama was the place he wanted to be. It was his third visit in a short period of time, so he went back over to Tuscaloosa on Wednesday to give word to Nick Saban and company.
The commitment of the Hoover (Ala.) defensive end projection, a three-star on Scout.com, came as little surprise to those in the state. Nonetheless, it helps the Crimson Tide notch another stout defender in the class of 2015, which now has double-digit defenders within it.
Bell knew he wanted to commit while on campus Saturday for A-Day, something his coach says is a developing trend with guys committing before their senior seasons.
"I think these guys want to enjoy their senior year, playing here, so I think once you commit it takes some pressure off of you," Josh Niblett said. "It allows you to focus and relax before your senior year so you can do what you need to do as a player."
On the field, the 6-foot-4, 215-pounder has set the edge for the Bucs in the last two falls, each helping lead the team to undefeated state championship seasons within Alabama's highest classification.
"The thing that allows him to be such a great player, and he has been for us since he was a sophomore, is his long length to his body," Niblett said. "He understands leverage and I think anytime you have those qualities, and can run and understand the game of football, it gives you an opportunity to be very special at what you do.
"He can rush the passer with his hand down as a defensive end or play the run. Also, if you need him to drop in space, he's a really good athlete like I said with a lot of length on him -- so he can play in space and be versatile and do a lot of different things for you."
On the flip-side, Bell knows he has to add weight eventually, but he is projected to play linebacker. No matter the obstacle, Niblett says, he has shown the consistency to overcome it and improve his game.
"All kids feel like they always have something they have to work on," he said. "It's the transition, whether it's offensive linemen in high school versus those in the college game, there is an adjustment…what makes Christian so valuable is that he's a student of the game. He studies film, he studies his opponent, so he'll be very prepared when he gets there and he'll try to make his mark as soon as he can.
"I'm excited for him and I think sky is the limit for him, he understands that he has a plan for what he wants to do."
Off of the field, the champion coach, who played at Alabama himself, admires the work ethic of one of his star players.
"He's always been a real warrior in whatever he does," Niblett said. "He's always been very committed to everything he's a part of, and I think that's what's special about him. I remember when Christian, this whole group (of 2015 talents), coming through middle school, they would be the ones hanging on the fence when we came through. They were waiting their turn to play here, make their mark and to leave a legacy behind. He always had a passion, always had an energy and he loves to compete.
"As someone who loves to compete, you do it in everything. It comes in the classroom, in the meeting room, it's in the weight room, it's on the practice field. He understands what's expected of him and the best part is that he already expects that from himself."
Within the Hoover roster, Bell, along with fellow class of 2015 standouts Darrell Williams, Bradrick Shaw and others, there is plenty of leadership to go around through one of the state's most storied programs.
"He's been a leader for us, he's got a voice on this team," he said of Bell. "Our guys listen to him, he's well respected in our program, in the community and on campus with the school. We talk about how respect is earned and not given, he's definitely earned his."
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