Bell Preparing for Senior Campaign

SALISBURY, N.C. --- In preparation for the coming season, Matthews (N.C.) Butler attends several seven-on-seven leagues every offseason. On Friday, the team, headlined by star linebacker Hawatha Bell, attended Catawba College's Seven-on-Seven Passing League.

Although the Bulldogs' defense will be led by Bell this fall, there are several uncertainties created by graduation. Thus, this year more than ever the extra reps are greatly needed.

"We're trying to continue the same thing that we did last year with our defense," Bell said. "We got have a lot of new people. Right now, we're just trying to show people that we can still have the dominating defense that we had last year."

Linebackers don't get to display their abilities in seven-on-seven games like the other participating positions. However, Bell, a 6-foot-1, 228-pounder, had an interception (worth three points) against King (N.C.) West Stokes.

"I'm just trying to do what I need to do," Bell said. "They threw a new defensive playbook at us [a couple of weeks ago], so I'm just trying to learn that."

Participating in seven-on-seven leagues throughout the state the last several weeks, Bell was forced to put recruiting on the backburner. With preseason practice kicking off on August 1, recruiting will continue to be an afterthought for Bell until the season begins.

Last week, though, Bell was able to sneak in a phone call to John Blake, his primary recruiter at UNC, and talked with him for the first time in a few weeks.

"I saw his number in my phone, so I decided to give him a call," Bell said.

"He just talked about coming down there and playing with the defense they have."

During the season, Bell says he will definitely attend games at North Carolina, NC State, and South Carolina this fall.

After going back and forth with favorites during the early parts of his recruitment, Bell now claims to be completely open to all schools.

"Right now, I don't have any favorites," Bell said. "Right now, I'm just looking at every team and see what they have to offer. So right now I'm just open."

Towards the end of his senior football season, Bell says he will narrow his choices down to five schools.

"I'm looking for a good team and how well the coaches respond to the players," Bell said. "Academics are also important."

With the recent addition of Michigan, Bell's scholarship offer list has reached 11 schools.

Hawatha Bell Profile

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