JUCO CB with Husker offer and plans to visit

There are a lot of reasons kids go to junior college. Some of them aren't ideal, but sometimes they turn out to be blessings in disguise. That's how it has been for Independence Community College cornerback Allen Bell. Out of the prep ranks he was virtually unknown and now he's approaching double-digit offers, and one of them is from Nebraska.

I doubt any prep would tell you that they want to go to junior college. It's often considered the place you have to go if you either don't have the grades to make it in Division 1-A or aren't considered good enough. For Allen Bell, his was a combination of both, the James Rickards High School cornerback having to deal with the fact that if he was ever going to have aspirations for college's elite level, he'd had to take the scenic route first.

In hindsight Bell would say that it didn't turn out too bad.

"I didn't want to go to junior college, but I basically didn't have any attention coming out of high school, so it seemed like the best route for me," Bell said. "I look at it now and things just worked out for the best."

To the tune of seven offers right now, coming from Louisville, East Carolina, Kansas, Kansas State, Nebraska and Ole Miss.

While Bell didn't have anything in writing to back up his belief in himself as a prep, he knew that one way or another people would notice what he could do. And at 6 foot, 2 inches and approximately 200 pounds, for a cornerback, one of his main attributes is obvious.

"Receivers line up against me and they already know they can't beat me like they do a lot of corners who aren't nearly as big," Allen said. "I don't mind facing those 6 foot, 4 inch guys, because I can get just as physical with them as they can with me."

"A lot of guys who aren't as big as I am, they can't play bump ‘n run against those guys too much, but I can play it all day. Receivers know that they aren't beating my physically."

Of course, being his height is one thing, but being that height and being a good defensive back is quite another. There are plenty of players who try to manage the position at that height, but very few make the cut. It comes down to athleticism, but more through the hips, a player being able to move and pivot during a backpedal and being able to adjust very quickly to the ball.

Call that the x-factor, if you will, the one thing that makes coaches see you as either a cornerback, which Bell certainly is, or a safety, which Bell is being recruited to play as well, but wants no part of for his future. "I have been playing cornerback my whole life and I know I am good at it," he said. "There are some schools that are recruiting me to play safety, but that's not what I play. I can, but I know I can play cornerback at the next level."

If his junior college statistics are any indication, Bell may not blow you away, but they are solid stats, especially for someone his size. On the season Bell notched one interception, but added nine pass break ups, along with totaling 34 tackles for Independence. One of his other assets, though, is in the return game. Allen said that he averaged 23 yards per kick return this year, along with 17 yards per punt return, one of those punt returns going back for a score.

Scheduled to graduate in May, Bell has had ample time to think about his choices for the future when it comes to colleges. He's already taken one visit, that to East Carolina, a trip he remarked as being good overall, but nothing that really blew him away. It's the visits he has upcoming, though, that he's expecting to see a lot of stuff he really likes.

"I'm visiting Louisville on the eighth of December and I have a few friends from Tallahassee that actually play for them," Bell said. "I am going to Nebraska on the 15th of December, and you don't really have to say much about those guys. They have five national titles and are just one of the best programs in the country. I haven't set up Ole Miss yet, but they are recruiting me really hard and I know that with them I can play right away."

That's a criteria that's going to be on the tip of the tongues of most prospects, but especially from the junior college level. Point of fact, that's the reason most schools go after the kids from the JUCO ranks. Whether it's to address depth concerns or simply a lack of experience, players from that level are more often than not, expected to contribute not long after they step foot on campus.

So it's not a surprise that Allen considers that to be one of if not his main factor in determining where he goes. "I'm looking at a lot of things, but opportunity to play right away is a big one," he said. "I think I am good enough to get on the field right away, and I just want my shot."

If Allen were to name favorites right now, he said that Ole Miss, Louisville and Nebraska topped the list. Amongst that trio, though, he said everyone was dead even right now. "When I get to talk to the coaches a little more, and I get up there for my visit, I will know a lot more about what I want to do."

Recruiting him from Nebraska is tight end coach and recruiting coordinator Shawn Watson, along with Nebraska defensive back coach Phil Elmassian.

Bell said that he will have three years to play three

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