The spring combine circuit has become an important tool for football prospects to show off their talents and catch the eye of college recruiters. Few prospect in North Carolina have taken better advantage of this than cornerback Rico Bell from Vance High School in Charlotte, NC.
At 5-11, 180 pounds, Vance blistered the course at Virginia Tech during the Nike Camp held in Blacksburg, registering an eye-popping, combine-best 4.37-second 40-yard dash. To prove it wasn't a fluke, Bell attended the Shrine Bowl Combine held in Charlotte in May and ripped off a 4.29-second 40-yard dash. While hand-held 40-yard dash times are notoriously fast, there's no mistaking Bell's outstanding speed. Add in a 32-inch vertical leap and you've got a prospect that's turned more than a few heads this month.
Last season Bell was one of the Charlotte area's top defensive backs, registering 78 tackles and two interceptions on the year. He also collected two punt return touchdowns, two kickoff return touchdowns and four pass receptions for scores.
Despite those numbers, recruiting interest started slowly although the rising senior has seen interest ramp up lately. He's now hearing from NC State, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Maryland, Boston College, and Georgia Tech with the Cavaliers offering up a written offer.
NC State's recruiting will be headed up by Dick Portee and the Pack will get a chance to watch Bell up close later this month. They'll be working to crack Bell's top five list as the speedy defensive back enters the summer completely open in regards to a college favorite.
"I don't really have any top schools because I want to keep all my options open, but I like State," said Bell. "I'm going to their one day camp so I can take a look at the campus and work out for the coaches."