A product of Nigeria, Africa Abdul Bello is still busy learning the sport he excels at and the one that is going to pay the bills. Bello played in six total games a year ago for Montverde Academy, which is the extent of his organized playing experience at any level.
The likes of Florida, Florida State, Miami, Georgia, Alabama, LSU, and so on have already offered Bello a full ride to play football based on the limited time those schools have seen him, but know of the huge potential that Bello brings to the table as a football player.
Montverde Academy offered Bello a chance to play early and to learn from good coaching as well as an academic environment that will see him mature as a student far away from home and with the help needed for someone that might face such a culture shock.
The roster has a total of 26 players for spring ball and Bello never leaves the field as they practice. It takes a lot of getting used to. The coaching here in America is much different from the club level football training he experienced in Nigeria.
"I get a little bit sore after the practice, but I'm always ready for practice the next day," Bello says in his thick African dialect and as he tries to understand the questions asked and provide a properly referenced answer. "It's pretty tough but I am trying my best. I am trying to improve every day. The coach yells at me, but he gets me better. He makes me do stuff right and doesn't ignore me… I appreciate that and it's a pretty good deal for me."
Bello has two friends from his home far away on the Montverde team. Taiwo Oluwafunmila and Franklin Agbasimere are two elite athletes as well. Agbasimere was on campus a year earlier than Bello and is a hardnosed terrific looking linebacker prospect. He made sure to tell Montverde officials about Bello and the hunt was on to bring him over. Those two then made sure the Montverde staff knew of Oluwafunmila and the athletic defensive end made his way to America a couple of months ago.
All the attention Bello s getting is starting to shine the light on his teammates from far away.
"It feels very good," he said of helping them out. "When I came here I wanted to play better last season. We all came to do the same kind of work. We all wanted to come here to go to college to play football. That is what we all came here for. We all want it and sometimes we come out here on (the practice field) our own and try to make ourselves better.
It has been great for the three to be around each other.
"You feel like you have someone from back home from so far away," he said. "We get here and most don't understand me and sometimes they help me, it feels really, really good."
On Wednesday, Miami, LSU, and North Carolina came by the school to check on Bello. The line of coaches is great and the level of program is great as well. The Florida Gators are after Bello hard and he has visited the school a couple of times. They are certainly one of the programs he is considering.
"It is a pretty good school," Bello said of Florida before noting that he has a lot to look at still. "I spoke to Coach Muschamp yesterday. I am still open and want to look at other schools and see where I would fit in best."
A couple of visits have him really liking the people he has met in Gainesville.
"The players were really nice people, the coaches were really nice people," he said. "Coach Muschamp just told me he wants me to be a Gator and be a part of the family."
With no decision in the near future, Bello is going to rely on the people he deals with all the tie to help him find the right place for him.
"I need to talk with my coaches," he said of any decision. "I am not very ready. I am working hard at it and am getting all the coaching I need. My coaches know so much about the schools and I know they will help me with who would fit me best. I do want to go to a school that would give me an opportunity (to play). I know I want a place at school that after my football career will really help me."