Hoover (Ala.) High School went on another historic run from 2012 through 2014, earning a trio of state championships including the state's first-ever Class 7A crown last year. Defensive end Christian Bell was a huge part of the Bucs' menacing defense, something he planned on continuing with the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2015 as a three-star signee in February.
Those plans changed and Bell delayed his enrollment for eight months, a process finally coming to an end Wednesday as he put pen to paper to make his transition to Tuscaloosa official.
"I just signed," he told BamaMag on Wednesday morning. "It's official. Roll Tide!"
Bell has been quite busy without football in his life for the first time in several years.
"I've just been working out and I was coaching fith grade, peewee ball, and we won a championship in that," he said. "Coaching kept me from doing things I wasn't supposed to be doing, and it kepty my mind on the game. If football doesn't work out for me, like the NFL, I want to be a coach. I've already made a decision."
The football and track and field champion has tangible training results, too.
"I'm now 64, 240 (pounds). All my lifts have gone up tremendously. I've been working on my speed, too," he said. "The plan is still the same, to play outside linebacker, JACK linebacker. I've been communication with coach Lup (Tosh Lupoi) lately, a lot. I was talking to Kirby (Smart) a lot when he was still there but I talk to all of them on visits. But I can go back up there after I sign because then I'm not a recruit anymore.
"January 9 is the move-in date as of now."
[Related: Listen to the full Christian Bell interview]
The time off created additional perspective for the three-star prospect and also helped him to bury the accolades he's become known by from his time in orange and black.
"The stuff I accomplished was a blessing and I thank God every day for those, but they're behind me," he said. "I've got bigger goals ahead of me. I want to win a national championship, I want to win an SEC championship. But move-in day will be very special to me and my family. We've been patient and now it's finally getting here."
Bell has a message to doubters and UA fans alike on what the Crimson Tide is acquiring in his services.
"Just an emotional player, always want to do the right things and do what's right to be successful in life," he said. "I'm an energetic guy who wants to be great at everything he does. Everybody he's around, he wants them to be great. This isn't the last championship run, I can promise you that.
"I'm able to get after the quarterback, I'm able to drop back in coverage, I'm able to set the edge on a tight end or a tackle or if a guard comes around."