Former teammate of Husker now with NU offer

Freshman wide receiver Antonio Bell is fast. They say he may be the fastest receiver on the team. Guess what? He's got a former teammate who says he's faster. And wouldn't you know it, he just got an offer from the big red.

Freshman wide receiver Antonio Bell should be a sophomore right now. Slated to be part of last year's recruiting class, Bell needed one class, wasn't quite able to complete it, but finally made it to campus this last January.

He's made a heck of an impression since he's arrived.

While Marcus Mendoza, a redshirt freshman running back, now receiver, has always been touted as being one of the fastest players on the team, some players said that Bell could hang. And you have to throw in that Mendoza goes at around 5-10. Bell is 6-2.

This Mainland High School (Daytona Beach, FL) standout is already considered an impact player this season before he's ever touched a ball in an actual game, and a big reason for that is his speed.

O.J. Ross says he's faster.

You'll have to forgive Ross the boast, but he did just run a 4.36 at a recent combine. That says something, and that's what has turned this prep-with-potential, into a budding superstar, going from a trickle of attention to a deluge of interest from all over. "I got seven offers right now, but the interest has really picked up," said Ross who scored 10 times on his 34 catches as a junior, totaling almost 700 yards. "But around here it's hard to keep track of who is coming in."

Ross is talking about the typical level of talent at his school, Mainland often finding themselves playing for the state title or the round leading up to it. And, of course, there is the usual bevy of talent that goes with it, Ross being one, cornerback Ricardo Allen being another as he is looking at offers from schools such as Florida State, Clemson, Michigan and Illinois.

But back to this comparison of speed between Bell and himself, yes, it's been awhile since they have competed with and against each other, but he still keeps in touch with Bell from time-to-time. "I have talked to him a couple of times since he made it up to Nebraska. He said it's a great place to be," Ross said. "He doesn't know about my offer though. I just got that this last week."

The offer is from, of course, Nebraska, that counting as number seven for Ross, joining Arkansas, Michigan, Ole Miss, Texas Tech, Virginia and Florida International, FIU a team that will actually travel to Lincoln this year to meet up with the big red.

Bell might have told him a bit about the Huskers, but that's about the only bit he really knows. Ross said that he's going to have to find out a lot more now that he's got an offer from the school.

It certainly doesn't hurt Nebraska's chances to have a former prep-teammate now playing on that team. And it doesn't hurt that Ross said he doesn't consider distance even a little when evaluating a potential program for the future. A lot of what he's looking at has to do with academics, of course, but also with his opportunity to play soon if not right away.

That leaves him in a bit of an odd spot.

As you might imagine you probably can't count all the Florida kids who have caught Gator-fever, especially since Urban Meyer arrived. Defending national champs, the Gainesville juggernauts are more than the flavor of the month.

But that's the problem, because while Ross admits that the Gators are his favorite team he just don't know if he could see himself going there. "It's kind of weird, because I like them the most, but they are loaded at every position," Ross said. "I just don't know if I really see myself going there even if they did offer."

That might initially sound like Ross lacks confidence, but when the lights are on Ross would say that nothing could be farther from the truth. Running a sub-4.4 at a combine where everyone is watching is one way. But another is just how Ross himself approaches the game. At 5-10, especially considering his speed, a lot of players might try to jam him at the line.

Go ahead.

Try.

He dares ya.

"Personally, I don't think I can be jammed. I am too quick, I know how to use my hands and I am always watching film," he said. "I study them to know what I should do, but I always watch what I am doing so I can keep fixing my mistakes.

"I just don't think you can get me off the line. I really don't."

Along with his typically-stacked team Ross will be trying to go out in style. It starts with the usual goal of a state championship. You'd think with all the offers he has now he wouldn't be focused on getting that much better, that much stronger and even faster than he already is.

Think again.

"You can't stop..ever. You can't stop wanting to get better at what you do, because the second you do someone is going to beat you," Ross said. "If I ran a 4.30, I'd want to run a 4.20. If I ran a 4.20, I'd want to run a 4.1. That's how it is. You start thinking you have done something , and you are going to get passed by those who refuse to stop trying to get better no matter how good they are."

When it comes to recruiting, however, Ross knows there's only so much he can do, and most of it he won't be doing any time soon. "The only camp I have scheduled is a Florida camp this Summer, but I don't have anything else after that," he said. "But I do know where I am going to take a few of my official visits. I plan on visiting Texas Tech, heading up there to Nebraska and then going to see North Carolina."

That leaves two official visits left, but while it seems Ross is ahead of the curve on getting on top of his recruiting, he doesn't have those two set, and isn't in a hurry.

It's going to be a long time before he decides.

"Signing Day. That's when I plan on deciding. I am taking it to Signing Day, for sure," he said of the first week of February. "That way there is no commotion during my season if people think I am making it then or whenever. I'm waiting all the way to the end."

As for perhaps racing his old teammate when he does take that trip into Lincoln, Ross figures he better not. The coaches might have an issue with that. But he is pretty sure how it would come out, saying with a chuckle, "Oh, I'd win."

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