In-state CB has an early Duke offer

Speed has always been one of the primary attributes the Blue Devil coaching staff has looked for. That continues to be the case in the class of 2015 as Duke has offered this in-state cornerback.

"I have been offered by Duke, NC State, and North Carolina," said Cornelius (N.C.) Hough standout Corey Bell. "Right now I have no idea in terms of recruiting timelines, but I could see myself making a decision before my senior season begins."

That's a while off as Bell is just beginning his junior campaign for Hough as the team's featured defensive back. At 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds with a 4.46 forty time to his credit, Bell certainly fits the mold of a high major DB. But that's not all he does for Hough.

"Right now I play corner, and a little bit of receiver as well. I also return kicks."

A season ago, as a sophomore, Bell won the starting left corner job in the preseason and ended up fighting his way to post-season honors, taking All-Conference recognition. On the season he recored 11 tackles, 21 pass break-ups, and five interceptions.

"He blankets guys," Hough head coach Bobby Collins said. "He knows exactly where he has to be to be successful. He knows route combinations. He's going to study the film and he's going to know what the quarterback is going to do."

The Duke coaching staff has taken notice of Bell early on and have offered a scholarship very early in the process. They have also made their recruiting pitch in a very direct fashion.

"They told me I'm one of their top players out of the class of 2015, and I'm their number one defensive back prospect. They keep stressing how important I am to them."

Bell visited Duke this past weekend for the game against NC Central where he was able to tour the campus and visit with the coaches - building on early contact via phone calls.

Throughout all his early recruitment, Bell has relied on his father, Myron who had an eight year career in the NFL as a safety. The elder Bell started for the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX. Before making his way in the league, Myron was an All-Big 10 selection for Michigan State.

"My dad has and is helping me the most because he's been through it all before," said Corey. "I am really relying on him a lot with recruiting."

In addition to beginning to navigate the recruiting process, Bell says he's aware of himself as a prospect and knows what he needs to work on.

"I'm looking to improve at getting my hands to the ball more. Whether that's getting interceptions, forcing fumbles, recovering fumbles, or anything else. Just getting take-aways and getting the ball back for our offense to do their job. I think it's important to know your strengths and weaknesses as a player so you can adjust. If a receiver in front of my is faster than I am, then I know I have to play him differently. Or, if a receiver is 6-foot-5, then I know I can't go for the interception, but I have to make sure he doesn't catch it…so go for his hands. It's little things like that. Just being able to respect your opponent so that you know what you're up against."

Over the summer Bell attended a number of camps including one at Duke. The entire camp circuit seems to have both humbled and emboldened him all at the same time.

"I've learned through these experiences that mostly I need to start working harder. Because I'm not the best at anything which means there's always room for improvement and there's always something I should be working on."


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