Xavier Bell was ready to make himself known to college coaches in his junior season, but that opportunity was delayed by an injury - he showed glimpses of next-level talent in a brief, yet impressive, return for high school playoffs.
As an underclassmen, Bell transferred from Costa Mesa to Mater Dei. He played both running back and safety on JV as a sophomore, but the MDHS staff started grooming him to be their starting safety in 2015.
“Right before my junior season, I suffered a major injury,” Bell said. “I took a helmet to the ankle and suffered a compound fracture. I was out for a good nine weeks of the season.”
But Bell returned in time for the team’s last four games and earned back that starting spot in just one showing. Despite the short season, he ranked second on his team in interceptions with three in his four appearances, second to only Quentin Lake, a three-star 2017 recruit who had seven on the year.
“When I came back in week 10, I played a decent amount,” Bell said. “I had a forced fumble and then I got put in as a starter in the playoffs. I had a good game, I had a pick-six. The next game against Serra Gardena I had another interception. I was a key factor in that game, playing against (Arizona quarterback signee) Khalil Tate. Not many people have been able to contain him. I had a pretty short season, but I played pretty exceptional for the time I had.”
After the playoff run, Bell is anxious to put together an impressive resume in his senior season.
“My senior season is going to be big,” Bell said. “I feel like this is all or nothing for me. I didn’t get to show off my talents all season last year like I would have liked. I’m definitely going to some camps.”
Bell will try to get a head start in the offseason on the seven-on-seven circuit. He plays for Elite Team Sports and may be a part of B2G as well. A handful of schools have already taken notice of Bell including interest from Arizona State, Duke, Florida State, Northwestern, Oregon State, Texas A&M and UNLV.
“I’m very explosive, speedy and I’m everywhere on the field,” Bell said of his game. “Across the field, I’m making plays on the other side. I’m doing everything I can out there. I’m a safety and I make great saves.”