Nick Bell Talks About His Commitment

During a Tuesday afternoon press conference, Jess Lanier High School linebacker Nick Bell, along with his family members and his coach, talked about his decision to commit to Mississippi State.

Nick Bell:

Opening Statement

"I would like to start off by thanking the coaching staff here at Jess Lanier High School for helping me develop into the player that I am today. Secondly, I would like to thank my mother, Linda Bell and my sisters. Mostly importantly, I would like to thank God for giving me the opportunity that I am going to discuss today. It gives me great pleasure to announce my verbal commitment to Sylvester Croom of Mississippi State University and the Bulldog family. As you may know, the SEC has a longstanding tradition of developing high school students into stellar student-athletes. Each university that I have been to has been more than hospitable and have shown a great love of their universities. However, above all, Mississippi State has shown that they can be the school in which I will call home and my future alma mater."

Questions and Answers:

Why Mississippi State?
"I just like what Coach Croom is doing down there, how he is changing things and developing a real good, Christian environment for me and my family."

What are your personal thoughts about Coach Croom and your recruiting coach, Charlie Harbison?
"He is a real good Christian man who not only wanted me there, but my mom there as well. And that was a big thing for me."

Why did you decide to go ahead and commit when you did?
"Just the fact that it was the SEC was a good thing for me. Then, when we went down there I took my mom with me so it got to be more personal. And we got to meet the coaches and Coach Croom's wife. I also got to meet the players and get more involved. And it just seemed like a good home fit for me."

Did last Friday's game have an effect or had you decided before that?
"It made it a more exciting atmosphere, but I was pretty sure that Mississippi State was where I wanted to go."

When did Mississippi State get involved in your recruitment?
"(MSU assistant coach Charlie) Harbison came up to the school and got my transcripts. Then, they invited me down for the first game, which was the Alabama game. I came back again for the Ole Miss game. I liked the environment and how the fans got behind the team even when they were down and losing."

When did they offer a scholarship?
"They offered me the week they saw my film."

How did it make you feel knowing that they offered as soon as they saw your film?
"It made me feel good. I always knew I was pretty good, but it just made me feel real good about myself."

Obviously, Mississippi State has made contact with you. Who else has called you since this past Sunday?
"Tennessee called me. And Clemson called me this morning."

What are they talking to you about?
"They are asking me when I think I will be able to come down again and come on my official visit. Things like that. But I'm telling them I'm already committed to Mississippi State."

His mother Linda Bell

What are your feeling about Nick committing to Mississippi State?
"My initial impression was positive. I had gotten word back that the recruiter, through Nick's mentor, said that Coach Croom had promised his boys on his team that he would be a father figure for them. And that he was providing a Christian environment. And location was also important. I wanted to know that I would be able to get to his games."

Have you met the Mississippi State coaches?
"I went down Friday and met the coaches."

What were your impressions of them?
"My impression was even more positive because it wasn't just one of them, but all of them. And they talked about the whole experience. They all seemed to love him like he was part of the team. And that was very impressive. Coach Croom's wife came up and talked and carried on with the coaches and the rest of the family members that showed up. There was a closeness not just with the coaches, but with the families, too. It was like not if but when Nick goes there that he will be leaving one home for another one."

Now that he's committed to Mississippi State, what are your thoughts about recruiting calls from other schools?
"My thought is when they call him he will let them know he appreciates their interest in him, but that he's already committed and that he won't be coming to visit them on a level as a recruit, but maybe to see a game sometime."

His sister Ashley Bell

What are your thoughts about Nick committing to Mississippi State?
"I didn't get to go on the visit with him, but I'm very proud that he picked the school that will support him in what he wants to do."

What is he like as a brother?
"He's my little, big brother. He's bigger than everybody else in the house. He's a pretty good guy. I wouldn't trade for anything."

Jess Lanier HS Head Coach Billy Woodham

Talk about meeting Nick for the first time.
"It was a blessing when he came to our school. The moment I saw him I liked how he carried himself. He was a big addition because we needed one more linebacker. He also played running back. He was a just a great addition. But the biggest things I liked about him were that his demeanor and his character were super. And the kid was put through a lot the first six weeks (due to the transfer from Minor HS to Jess Lanier HS). Every time you saw him he had a smile on his face, and he was battling some hard times."

As a player, what makes him so special?
"Playing-wise, it's his instincts to get to the ball. And his leadership on the field. This is a kid that came to us after spending all the other years at Minor. He came to us - new surrounding, new kids. Some places might not have worked out, but he came in here and had that character about him."

You've talked to his MSU recruiting coach, Coach Harbison. What does he say about Nick?
"Pretty much everything I said. When he came through the door, he was smiling about the same way I was when Ms. Bell brought Nick in my office. It was a blessing. Coach Harbison is the safeties coach. But when he called the linebackers or defensive end coach, that coach asked him if the first place he was going was Bessemer, Alabama. And that he was going to see Nick Bell. Coach Harbison said, 'yes sir, that's my first stop.' (That tells you that) they are very high on him."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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