The NCAA Clearinghouse has spoken

It's been a process, having been expected to be part of last year's recruiting class to wondering if you would make it at all. That's been the situation for wide receiver Antonio Bell. It's not any longer as he had finished classes and was just waiting on the NCAA Clearinghouse to give him the official thumbs up or thumbs down. He got it.

You can sense the emotion in a person's voice, no matter how dry the topic. Well at least you could with Antonio Bell.

You see, he was supposed to be already be enrolled, having been a part of last year's recruiting class. Because of an academic situation, though, he couldn't, and for most kids that means they were either going to have to go the junior college route, which most do, or perhaps attend prep school for a year.

Bell wouldn't have any of that, having to take and pass just one class, an on-line English program, and if he got good enough grades there, he could make his way to Lincoln. Last week Bell had finished his classes, and from the passing grade he received, he was sure that he was ready, set and good to go to Nebraska.

But he had to wait for the NCAA.

As it is with all prep-athletes, what you think is important, but it's what they say which matters. They had to give him the go ahead.

They did.

"I passed, they approved it and I'll be in Lincoln tomorrow," Bell said with an obvious sense of relief. "It's been a long road, but it's been worth it and now I can get up there and be part of the team."

As a member of perennial power Mainland High School in Daytona Beach, Florida, Bell capped off a stellar four-year career in 2007 as he caught 45 passes for 776 yards and nine touchdowns. That earned him first-team all-area honors and second-team class 5A all-state accolades from the Florida Sportswriters Association. Combined with his 625 yards as a junior and over 500 yards as a sophomore, Bell had nearly 2,000 yards receiving over his prep-career.

At 6-2 and around 190 pounds Bell is a versatile athlete, giving you both open-field moves and the ability to be very physical in coverage. Also a prep-star in track, especially in the jumping events, Antonio adds a impressive vertical leap to round out the full athletic package.

With the loss of players like Nathan Swift and Todd Peteson, who both graduated from the University, even new faces to campus will be looked to, to add depth and even considerable playing time their first year. Bell automatically throws himself into the mix as one of those who will have high expectations the second he walks on campus.

He doesn't care though. Sure, he loves the expectations, and he's excited about the opportunity. But after seemingly missing his chance and staring at the idea of having to attend junior college for two years, it may be a year later than he thought, but now is certainly better than never. "I'm just glad that's over and I can now get on with college," Bell said. "It's such a relief. Yeah, it's a huge relief."


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