It appeared for a moment that Kentucky's highest-rated verbal commitment this year would be looking around at other options when news broke that Joker Phillips' had been dismissed as head coach.
That still may be the case for Alvonte Bell, who is hearing from other major programs like Missouri, Louisville, West Virginia and Florida State.
But after getting an opportunity to speak with new UK head coach Mark Stoops and defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot, the four-star Miramar (Fla.) Everglades defensive end says he is sticking with the Cats.
"Yes sir, I am solid with Kentucky," Bell said Thursday night. "I got a chance to talk to coach Stoops and coach Eliot, and I'm excited about what they had to say."
"They just said they've always liked me and they really want to coach me at Kentucky," Bell said. "They think there's a good chance for me to come in and play right away. I expect to."
Bell (6-5, 237, 4.6) plays a priority position for UK in the 2013 recruiting class. The Cats lose two senior starters in the form of Collins Ukwu and Taylor Wyndham this season.
Bell is rated the No. 32 defensive end prospect in the nation by Scout. He was limited to only four games as a senior due to a stress fracture in his tibia, but still racked up 35 tackles and four sacks during that time.
"I'm almost fully recovered," he said. "I'm back to running and working out, trying to rebuild strength."
Bell plans to make his official visit to Lexington on January 11. There's still a possibility he may take a couple other visits, but he reiterated that he's very much solid with UK at this time. He says he's been communicating with other commitments like Jacob Hyde, Blake McClain and Reese Phillips in hopes that the class will stick together.
The hiring of Stoops, who was defensive coordinator for Florida State's No. 2-rated defensive unit this season, was a major factor in Bell reaffirming his commitment.
"I like how they went out and got a defensive guy from FSU," he said. "It was a little bit surprising to me because he was never mentioned with all the other names that kept coming up, and they were all offensive guys. As a defensive guy myself, I'm really glad they went that direction."
Bell: "I am solid with Kentucky"
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