JC wideout taking big advantage of JC

Junior college is often considered the one place you don't want to go if you are a prep football player thinking of gridiron greatness. But for some it's the way to actually pave the way to potentially experiencing just that. Just ask George Bell. He went from some sense of obscurity to now being one of the hotter names in regard to every J.C. wideout in the country.

A prep career which saw little success in regarding to recruiting, was followed by a short stint at Southern Oregon, a member institution of NAIA. The almost immediate realization while there that he had more to offer and perhaps more to gain from going someplace else, ultimately led him to Southwestern College.

At that point even Bell wondered at the potential, because this was J.C. "I was telling a friend of mine that the going to J.C. is like taking probation over jail," Bell said with a laugh. "You go to court, and you are just hoping they don't lock you up. You get probation, and then you do your two years and do whatever you can to get into college. What happens during probation is up to you."

Bell made good on first year of his ummm..probation, catching 80 balls for 1,263 yards, scoring 12 times. Those aren't just impressive numbers, they are sick, even in the new world of the spread. And that one year allowed Bell to learn a few things along the way. "In high school you run routes, but not really. You are beating everyone just with athleticism and talent," he said. "Here you have to know how to run drags and hitches, you have to know how to use your hands and you have to know how to block.

"It wasn't like I didn't think I could do it, but you find out what you can do when you are facing a lot better players."

At 6-3, 195 and reportedly running a 4.4/40, there's no doubt that Bell stacks up on paper. And that's a big reason why a relatively unknown from the prep ranks is now considered one of the best wide receivers in all of J.C.

Arizona State, Kentucky, Fresno State, San Diego State, Utah, Nevada, Colorado and Nebraska have all offered this standout in writing.

It's enough to make Bell do a double-take.

"It's one thing to know you have the ability, but it's another to actually realize it. And when you are in high school you think you are going straight to Division 1," he said. "Junior college was for me, a real blessing in disguise, because I look at where I was and where I am now, I'm actually in position to reach my goals."

The first goal is to graduate, Bell now swimming in Summer classes, thinking a little about the future, but knowing that he has to have his mind in the here and now. And yes recruiting is part of that, which when you consider his offers and the idea that he's sure to get more, seems that it could become a creature all its own. 

Bell said that he doesn't know what will happen in the future as far as a team he hasn't even joined yet, but he's not even worried about that right now. "If I don't get school done and do well on my team, there's no reason to look that far ahead. I have learned the hard way that you need to think about what's going on right now," said Bell who plans to graduate in December. "I am fortunate to get the attention, but it won't be worth much if I don't make sure I stay on the right path here, both on and off the field."

One thing Bell has managed to do on his own is keep in contact with the coaches he's grown the most familiar. You can count Nevada amongst those and Kentucky as well. You can also throw in Nebraska, as Bell said that almost once a week he talks to the guy who won't be his position coach, but has been his recruiter from the outset. "I talk to Coach Sanders, and I remember the first time we talked, it really didn't have anything to do with football," he said of Secondary Coach Marvin Sanders. "I told him I was going into the Culinary Arts, and he was trying to tell me how good of a cook he was and how he makes the best ribs.

"I don't know about that. I can't say until maybe I can taste them myself. We'll have to see."

The offenses vary to a degree as to the teams which have offered Bell. And George does admit that, because of the success he's had in the spread offense where he's at right now, he likes offenses similar to that in the future. But it's not necessarily about throwing it 50 times a game and always having four-wide like they do at SWC. He's a receiver. He likes the ball, and the opportunities to make stuff happen.

"I caught 80 balls, but the guy at the "X" caught 71, and I know he had over a thousand yards, too," Bell said of Sheldon Galloway, who signed a scholarship with Midwestern State. "But you can't even just try and lock in on us two. There's only so much a defense can do when they are putting linebackers over here to stop you, safeties over there to help stop him. Pretty soon it's the running back that's killing you."

Bell said he sees a bit in all of the teams he's looking at, even at Nebraska, where he knows they are a pro-style team, but have aspects of the Spread installed.

But studying all these teams and even figuring out visits is going to have to wait.

"I talk to the coaches I know about once a week or as much as I can, and I just try to keep as open to the whole process as I can. But there are a few other things I need to worry about more right now than something that's a ways down the road," he said. "I can tell you that I am looking to play, I know I don't have a lot of time to wait and I want to take my game to the next level. There are probably a few schools that fit that, but I'll figure that out over time."

Bell said that as of right now he believes he does have a redshirt year available to him, but doesn't know for certain, because of his brief stay at Southern Oregon. "I'm still trying to get all that figured out," he said.

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