Bell Closing in on Decision Time

Fayetteville (NC) Running Back George Bell, who let it be known early that he has always been a Tennessee Volunteer fan, now favors another school because of the persistence they've shown him throughout his recruitment.


"It has kind of faded away because of the injury that happened and then [Tennessee] backed off some," Bell told us.  "I liked Tennessee growing up and if they came back on me hard I'd probably consider them.  But State's my #1 and I don't think Tennessee would jump them."

N.C. State's rise to the top of George's list actually began last summer, when Bell was one of the most impressive standouts at a week-long Wolfpack camp.

"It was the camp I went to last summer.  I felt really in control and I worked out at running back and wide receiver.  I ran some routes and I just think I impressed them.  After the camp NC State was a school that I knew I would like."

"The first day you can officially offer a player NC State offered George, and after that camp they were all over him," Jack Britt coach Richard Bailey said.  "When he left that camp is really when there was definitely a buzz about NC State and George Bell.  He had a great time and wanted to stay all week.  That's really when the close relationship between [Running Backs] Coach Portee and George really began."

Certainly it's been stated in recent weeks that Bell's an NC State lean, but this weekend he visited North Carolina for the Florida State football game.  George had a good time in Chapel Hill and now looks to visit them officially in the near future. 

"I had a good time at the UNC-Florida State game," George said.  "I stayed until the end and even though the game was pretty much over I still had a good visit.  I went ahead and set up an official visit to Carolina for the October 6th weekend.  I think that will be good a visit and I'll get to see some of their players." 

As of now, the official visit to North Carolina is the third trip lined up by Bell, with visits to Michigan and Virginia scheduled for September. 

"I'm going to Michigan on the 6th and Virginia on the 27th of September," he said.  "I like the program up at Michigan and the running back situation.  At Virginia they have a young team and I like their coaches too."

"Besides those three, I'm probably going to visit Virginia Tech and that will be it.  NC State's my #1 school so I don't really need to visit them because I know enough about them.  I can use the visits to see some schools that it might be hard to take unofficial visits to."

Should Wolfpack fans be concerned about Bell not scheduling an official to NC State?

"If he comes back from a visit really liking another school then I'm going to advise him to visit NC State," Coach Bailey said.  "They've been his #1 all this time and he should visit them if he begins to doubt that, but I just don't see him having to visit NC State."

"I'll make no bones about it I'm a Carolina fan and you're bred to not like N.C. State, it's just that way growing up.  But they've done an unbelievable job... they've been first class with him and stood by George through every bit of this injury.  Coach Amato's personally made calls to me and has said that they don't care if he plays again and they'll take their chances with him and the injury.  Coach Cignetti's helped me out so much with doctor information.  I'm starting to become a State fan a little bit just because of the way they've handled the situation."

"Coach Amato could have been anywhere on the first day of Spring but that first day he was sitting in this office telling me that they wanted George and he was their #1 priority.  That loyalty has made a big impact with George and it's paying off now."

Another factor in Bell's decision will be his parents.  With him going off to college, he naturally will seek their advice on what he should do, and George has a good feel on who his parents like.

"My parents want me to go to State," he said.  "They like the coaching staff and are comfortable with them.  They see that NC State's on the rise so that's good."

One thing that remains to be seen is if Bell will play for Jack Britt High School again. 

"I know I'll be able to play again, but this is a big part of my future so I'm going to be careful and only play if I feel like I'm completely ready."

"I told George that we are not going to jeopardize his future and if he feels that he shouldn't play then he won't," Coach Bailey said.  "We just found out that he was selected to play in the Army All-American Bowl in January and even if he don't play again for Britt then maybe he'll be able to represent us in that game."

If Bell did decide to run with the Wolfpack, he would be the third running back in three years who has played in the ESPN Army All-American Bowl to ink with N.C. State, joining T.A. McLendon (2002) and Darrell Blackman (2003).    

With early graduation only a couple of months away, can we expect a decision following his trip to North Carolina?

"Maybe... I plan on making my decision around the end of September or the first week of October, but I'm basically going to decide when I'm comfortable visiting all the schools that I want to see."

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