"Now I've got offers from NC State, Clemson, Virginia, Maryland, Boston College, and Tennessee. I'm keeping my options open, but you could say Virginia, NC State, Tennessee, and Clemson are my top four."
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.
This year he has already recorded over 60 tackles and six interceptions while playing safety for Vance High.
He burst on the scene this spring on the camp circuit. At 5-11, 180 pounds, Bell 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.
"My speed is my strength," Bell said. "I'm also good in coverage and like to hit. Some schools are recruiting me as a corner or wide receiver, but most want me to play safety for them."
This past weekend Bell unofficially visited Virginia and watched the Cavaliers thrilling victory over Florida State. He was impressed with what he saw and is looking forward to his official visit to Charlottesville.
"It was a good game," Bell said. "I was happy that they pulled it out. I wasn't surprised because they have a good team, but they have had some key injuries with guys like Ahmad Brooks and their offensive lineman.
"I'll be taking my official visit to Virginia when they play Virginia Tech. I also have one set with Tennessee for January 13th and I'm going to set up visits to [NC] State and Clemson too."
Bell isn't in a rush to make a decision, as he plans on taking all of his official visits before announcing his choice. However, he did say that if an official really impressed him he could announce shortly thereafter.
"It depends on how the official visits go," Bell said. "I want to see the schools some more and then decide, but if I'm blown away I could just end it right there."
What does the three-star prospect like about his four favorites?
NC State: "It's not too far from home, and my family can come watch me. That would be good, that would be easy for them. I haven't had a chance to see the campus or school yet so that is what the official is for."
Virginia: "They are the first school to offer me, and they have good education programs. If you don't make it in football it's a good degree to have."
Tennessee: "I really like their facilities. They have some nice facilities there. I like the coaches too."
Clemson: "Probably the same about NC State, it's not too far from home."
#24 Rico Bell - Video 2