Shrine Bowl: Hawatha Bell Spotlight

ROEBUCK, S.C. --- UNC verbal commitment Hawatha Bell is projected as one of the starters on North Carolina's defense for Saturday's Shrine Bowl.

"This is a real big thing for me," said Bell. "I never really thought I'd be in this position in my life. This is real big for me."

Bell, a 6-foot-1, 228-pound linebacker from Matthews (N.C.) Butler, will line up at the strong-side stand-up defensive end position in a 50 defense.

"Basically, [my job is] to contain the outside," Bell said. "I'm out there to make plays."

During his career at Butler, Bell has played every linebacker position and even a little defensive end. In the Shrine Bowl, though, Bell plans to continue to play with a linebacker mentality.

"I use every last technique that I've learned at linebacker," Bell said. "I use everything that I use at linebacker and I bring it down to defensive end, also. I basically use my speed. At defensive end, I use my speed, dip my shoulder, and just go."

The biggest problem Bell has had to overcome this week is getting back into football shape and the football mindset.

"Early on this week, I was trying to get back to playing football," Bell said. "I haven't played football for two weeks. I've been too rested. I'm trying to get used to taking on blocks."

On and off the field, Bell is enjoying playing with and being around his fellow UNC commitments. Eight players on North Carolina's roster have committed to UNC – five, including Bell, are projected to start Saturday.

"Basically, to me it's like all the bonding we're doing now, we're getting real close," Bell said. "So I know once I get up to Chapel Hill, I know I have a whole bunch of people I'm already bonded with."

Bell said that even during this week, he has kept in contact with the UNC coaching staff. Tuesday night, he had a conversation with UNC linebacker coach Tommy Thigpen.

"He was just asking me how everything is going down here," Bell said.

Hawatha Bell Profile

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