Running back George Bell (5-11, 225 lbs., 4.5 in the 40, 365 lb. Bench press, 2.5 GPA) from Fayetteville, N.C., Jack Britt is busy rehabbing from ACL surgery in order to be ready for the 2003 season. I talked Sat. AM to the soft-spoken George, and to his stepfather, about the status of his U-M recruitment.
George's stepfather told me, "Yes, Michigan is recruiting George. They visited his school and called him in May. Michigan is communicating with him regularly, but as far as an offer I don't think so. George is not short on people recruiting him. But some of the schools want to see him in action this fall first."
George added: "Michigan visited my school and called me in May. It was Coach Campbell who called me. Since then he has been writing and sending me things. And I call him once in a while. He says Michigan wants to see film of my first couple games before offering me a scholarship."
I asked George if he's ever been to Michigan. "Never," he said. "I was going to go for an unofficial visit during the Michigan Camp but I went to Los Angeles in June to visit my father. I visited UCLA while I was there."
Why would U-M wait to offer TheInsiders.com's #53 prospect? Because Bell only rushed for 630 yards and six touchdowns in 11 quarters last year before going down with an ACL knee injury (as a sophomore, he rushed for 890 yards and seven touchdowns with a cast on his broken wrist). I asked about George's injury, and how the knee is progressing.
George's stepfather explained, "The injury happened in the 3rd game last season. It was just a freak accident ... initially we thought he hit a pylon with his knee, but it was just a cut-back thing. Watching it on film it's freaky looking, because there was not a lot of impact or anything. He is rehabbing now and it is going very well. His physician now says the knee and leg are stronger than his other leg. He's running, cutting, getting ready. He'll be ready to go for the the first game. He's been anticipating this all summer."
George added: "I've been running for a while now, but I just recently started cutting. I'd say I'm 80-85%. We officially start practice the 28th. I'll be 100% by our first game."
George is listed at 5-11, 225 lbs., with a 4.5 in the 40. Is that accurate?
"Yes. Well, actually he's a little faster than he was before, so he's below a 4.5."
As far as scholarship offers, George said, "I have scholarship offers from NC-State, UNC (North Carolina), ECU (East Carolina), Maryland and Virginia Tech. Michigan and some other schools wants to see film of my first couple games before offering."
We asked George for his list of favorites. "NC-State, Virginia Tech, UCLA," he answered. "I'm actually kind've open for the third spot. If Michigan were to offer me they would move right up there."
Michigan fans should not count George Bell out. "Let me tell you about George," his stepfather informed me. "He has always been focused on making it to the 'big show' ... the NFL. He is focused beyond his years. He's always been willing to do whatever it takes to separate himself. He is the most serious kid I've ever seen. He just has a tremendous work ethic ... totally focused, always getting better. But he's not 'an idiot' about it. He's not conceited, he's a low-key, down to earth kid, he knows he has to get grades as well as play football."
Bell has stated that he would like to make a college decision by his birthday, Oct. 28. We'll see if Michigan makes him an offer by then. Don't count it out.
Note: if Jack Britt High School rings a bell for you, here's why. Two years ago Jack Britt's tight end Aaron Kirkland picked Tennessee over U-M, and last year their 'athlete' Dequarius Jackson's favored Michigan but the Wolverines did not heavily recruit him.
Bell is a soft-spoken gentleman ...
... but he is "focused beyond his years."
NC RB George Bell Recovering From ACL
The Michigan Insider Top Stories
WATCH: Beilein talks win over Kennesaw StateWatch as Michigan head coach John Beilein discusses the Wolverines' 82-55 victory over Kennesaw State on Saturday.
The Michigan Insider12:33 PM
U-M cruises to 82-55 win over Kennesaw StateMichigan takes care of business as it defeats Kennesaw State 82-55 on Saturday.
The Michigan Insider10:28 AM
Beilein: 'We have to have more grit'Michigan coach John Beilein says his Wolverines must have more grit defenisvely following surprising home loss to Virginia Tech.
The Michigan InsiderYesterday at 12:28 PM
U-M Getting Big Assist in Reitmaier PursuitNashville (Tenn.) Lipscomb defensive lineman Rutger Reitmaier remains committed to Oregon, but the relationship he and his family have built with Michigan in recent months have…
The Michigan InsiderThursday at 7:42 AM