NC Running Back A "Genetic Freak"

Running back George Bell out of Jack Britt High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina is one of the top players in the class of 2004 in the Tarheel State. A 5-11, 225 pound mass of muscle, Bell is already picking up heavy interest from the nation's powerhouse football programs.

A healthy George Bell might be the top prospect in the state of North Carolina in the class of 2004. Unfortunately, four games into his junior season, the 5-11, 225 pound running back injured his knee.

"It's basically the same injury as [Miami running back] Willis McGahee," Bell's coach, Richard Bailey said. "The doctors say it'll take nine months for him to be 100%, but he's sprinting now after five months and goes to rehab six days a week. He's a tough kid."

He's a strong kid too. Bell benches 365 pounds, hang cleans 335, and push presses 390 pounds. Bell, who has a vertical jump of 31 inches and runs the 100 in 10.9 seconds, runs the forty in a legit 4.43-4.45 seconds according to his coach. He officially clocked in at 4.5 seconds at N.C. State football camp last year.

Bell's numbers have wowed fans and college scouts, but his biggest fan may be his football coach. "He's the best athlete I've ever coached and I've been in it for 12 years," Coach Bailey said. "He's a genetic freak to be honest with you," Bailey continued. "They used to make him carry around his birth certificate when he was in middle school so he could prove that he wasn't too old."

Even with an injured knee, Bell's recruitment is in full swing. "We're being bombarded right now," Coach Bailey said. "I'm without a doubt that he would have 20 if he didn't blow out his knee. Right now, he does have an N.C. State offer in writing, though. He's also got interest from Tennessee, Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Virginia Tech...You name it, he's gotten letters, and not the chain letters either. I know the difference between those and the real mail that he's getting."

Coach Bailey, who has coached the likes of Tennessee tight end Aaron Kirkland in his time at Jack Britt, continued talking about Bell's recruitment. "He's been a Tennessee fan growing up, but he's really wide open in his recruitment. N.C. State sends him a red piece of paper every week and they want him to cover up the [Tennessee] orange walls in his room with the red pieces of paper by the time signing day comes. They've really done a good job with him so far."

Still, college coaches call daily asking for film and information on the Fayetteville running back. "I was talking to the VT coaches yesterday and they asked for tape and some information on George," Coach Bailey said. "My coaching staff is going to a clinic at VT in April as well so I'm sure we'll talk in-depth about George with the Tech coaches then."

Lots of schools have been in contact, but has Bell taken any visits as of yet?

"He took a trip to Virginia two weekends ago, Duke last weekend, and he's going to UNC Saturday and N.C. State Sunday," Coach Bailey said. "He's really taking the big tour of colleges."

And if his knee continues to progress and Bell is able to showcase his talents, Bell's list of offers and college tours will expand even more, making him one of the most sought after prospects in the nation.

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