Bell: 'My List is Clear'

It appeared that Matthews (NC) Butler linebacker Hawatha Bell would be making an early decision. However, Bell now plans on taking his time and visiting as many schools as possible before giving a verbal commitment.

It appeared that Matthews (NC) Butler linebacker Hawatha Bell would be making an early decision. Previously he had stated that he was leaning to Virginia Tech and South Carolina and was hoping to decide in the spring.

"I was talking with my coach about it, and he said the best thing for me to do is enjoy the recruitment process," stated Bell. "I don't have to commit early and I can visit some schools and have fun.

"I want to go on trips and experience all the schools. Hopefully I can visit South Carolina, UNC, Virginia Tech, NC State, Notre Dame... any school that is talking to me."

At 6-0 and 228 pounds, Bell is an outstanding athlete. At last month's Shrine Bowl combine, he was timed at4.48 in the 40-yard dash, vertically jumped 32.6 inches, and benched 185 pounds 23 times while posting a 4.46-second 20-yard shuttle.

He's certainly athletic, but Bell is also extremely productive. As a junior, he totaled 125 tackles, three sacks, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. With offers on the table from Miami, Illinois, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Duke, East Carolina, South Carolina, NC State, and North Carolina, Bell can afford to be selective. He knew after picking up his first offer that more would follow.

"My first scholarship came from Miami," said Bell. "They offered me back last year. Basically that offer was big to me because it was from a championship-level team... a team with a lot to offer.

"The way I see it, if Miami can offer me, I felt like I was doing my job on the football field. With that offer, I knew I could get even more of them... Miami saw something in me so others had to."

Bell now claims to have no leader as he remains wide open.

"My list is clear," he stated. "I don't even have a favorite. I just want to go out and look at all the schools."

Here are his thoughts on some of the programs currently under consideration.

Virginia Tech: "I have two teammates that are going to Virginia Tech and often I will talk with coach Sherman. He sounds like a laidback coach, and I like him. It's just all the things that Jarrett [Boykin] and E.J. [Whitley] have told me about the school."

North Carolina: "Talking to coach Blake, he is just a funny coach. He's laidback and he likes to have fun, but I think he can be serious when the time is right. Also, he's always looking out for his players. The whole thing I'm looking for is how well I can connect with a coach. It sounds like I can get a real good connection with him."

South Carolina: "It's the same thing with South Carolina and UNC, but it is coach Rychleski. We're real close. We stay in touch a lot, and I feel like I know him real well. The way South Carolina talks about their academics also caught my attention."

NC State: "I really haven't talked to any of the coaches or been up there for a visit. I only spoke with one of their coaches one time, and that was just a week or so ago. He told me to come up to the school and check them out because it's a real nice school. Basically, it sounded like he wanted me to give them a chance to show what they have. That right there made me realize I need to take it slow and stop trying to rush because I need to make sure I see as many schools as I can because I have all the way until February."

Bell is registered to attend this weekend's Under Armour Combine in Charlotte, North Carolina. At this time, he is unsure of any other camps or combines.

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