At 6-2 and around 180 pounds, Mainland High School 's Antonio Bell would physically appear to fit the bill at a variety of positions. Throw in a 35-inch vertical and a reported 4.4/40 and ideal turns into just darn impressive. Add to that 45 catches as a wideout as a senior, totaling 767 yards and nine touchdowns, the picture becomes pretty clear that is a kid worth taking a look at.
Bell got used to that idea, and for most of the recruiting season, he was thinking that he might have a host of possibilities, including the Tennessee Volunteers, a school which he committed to way back in May. Well, Tennessee hasn't had a whole lot of issues with coaches, but it appeared that when Bell was testing the waters, all the staffs who had previously been showing him a ton of interest, ended up losing their jobs or taking jobs to other places.
The previous regime offered Bell , looking at him to perhaps fill the void that would be left when Frantz Hardy and Terrence Nunn graduated. Of course, things changed and once the staff changes took place, it was a whole lot of nothing from the big red. But just a couple of weeks ago, Bell started to hear from them again, this time a new regime, but a familiar face, at least to some of the coaches at Mainland. "My coach knows the running back coach from Nebraska ," Antonio said of Tim Beck, who opted out of the wide receiver coaching position at Kansas to take the running back coach job at Nebraska . "And from the one time I have talked to him, he seems like a good coach, a nice guy and he really seems to know what he's doing."
For any Florida kid, you probably don't have this engrained knowledge of Nebraska . Who would? It's not like they play every year or even that Nebraska is constantly playing somewhere in the southeastern part of the country. But Bell does know a little something about the big red, because his position coach knows a little more. "My position coach Terry Anthony played for Florida State back when they had some pretty good games with Nebraska," Bell said of Anthony, who played wide receiver for Florida State in the late-80s and spent two years in the NFL.
Bell knows about how Nebraska did last year, the offense doing a lot while the defense didn't do much at all. But he knows about Nebraska 's previous season where Nebraska lost a squeaker to a top 10 Auburn team in the Cotton Bowl. But his familiarity, as you could expect, exists more with what Nebraska does on offense and how that suits him to a tee. "They get the ball to a lot of people, and you have to run good routes and need to be able to get off the jam, which I think I do both really well," Bell said. "I like being on the outside, so I can use my speed, but I don't mind playing the slot, too."
It's been a bit of a flurry for Nebraska recruiting, especially since Bo Pelini got back into town from LSU, as the full-time coach of the big red. One of the apparent priorities during these last few weeks has been the wide receiver position. Nebraska lost Hardy and Nunn, along with their playmaker, Maurice Purify, as well as Dan Erickson. There are capable bodies coming back, but you always need more coming in.
To that end, Nebraska will bring in a host of wideouts for official visits, including Khiry Cooper and Laron Byrd, both from the state of Louisiana, Steven and Courtney Osborne, a dynamic receiving duo from Garland, Texas, along with Tim Marlowe, a shifty-smaller wide receiver who officially visited this last week from Youngstown, Ohio.
So, it's obvious that Nebraska feels they need wide receivers, and it's just as obvious that because of so many coaching changes with the teams he's been looking at, Bell himself is looking for a home. If an official offer does come from Nebraska, which Bell said that he wasn't informed of whether or not it would, it could be one and done, at least for the Mainland wide receiver. "If I like everything I see and it seems like a place I want to be, I will probably go ahead and commit," Bell said. "Location means nothing to me and I don't care one bit about the cold. I actually have to have three fans going at night, just so I can sleep, because of the heat."
The only real worry Bell has at this point isn't about the trip once he gets there, but the trip on the way to Lincoln . You see, Bell has never flown in a plane, and he'll be the first to admit that he's seen one too many movies. "Every time I think about that plane ride, I keep thinking about all these movies I've watched when something bad happens," Antonio said. "So, I'm a little nervous about that.
"But not the snow. I have never seen snow before, but I actually can't wait. I might just start a snowball fight with someone or something."