Bell, who also competed on the OSU track team, had his best year as a junior, recording 87 tackles. He scored two touchdowns that year, including the winning score in an 18-15 win at Michigan where he scooped up a blocked punt and ran it into the end zone. The win sent the 11-0 Buckeyes to the Rose Bowl, where they lost a 17-16 decision to USC, costing them the national championship. In that game, the athletic Bell ran down Heisman Trophy winner Charles White from behind and stripped him of the ball to prevent a touchdown - a play that ranks as one of the great plays in Ohio State football lore.
Bell was from Middletown High School and was one of the most highly recruited football players in the nation as a senior.