The native of Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway entered college as a five-star prospect and the No. 2 weakside linebacker in the country as ranked by Scout.com after recording 113 tackles including 19 for loss and 7 sacks as a senior. In the final few days until his first fall camp begins, Bell listed a few lofty goals for his career.
They all officially get underway Sept. 12, when an assuredly packed Ohio Stadium will be on hand for a night game against USC.
"It's exciting, because I'm hoping to leave after three years and that's the perfect game to get it all started off," Bell told BuckeyeSports.com. "Hopefully I can get the start and show everybody what I've got and what I've been taught."
Those are lofty goals for any player, particularly one at a position like linebacker. The Buckeyes will have some new faces at linebacker after losing veterans James Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman, but players such as Ross Homan, Austin Spitler and Brian Rolle are just a few of the names who figure to get the first shot at the vacated spots.
Earning an early starting job is not an easy task. In 2005, freshman cornerback Malcolm Jenkins earned a start in the team's third game of the year at the nickelback position while Freeman and Laurinaitis saw no starts as true freshmen.
To say that Bell is confident in his abilities might be a bit of an understatement. However, his confidence seems to fall just short of cockiness.
"We're all human," he said. "We're all going to get hit and we're all going to hit hard someday, but all that matters is that you get back up and keep playing. It feels good. It's not real to me yet, but it's real that I'm at Ohio State practicing. I won't say that it's hard, but it's going to be a challenging thing to fill shoes as a freshman and get on the field."
All Bell is looking for is a chance, he said.
"I'm looking to show everyone what I've got," he said. "Everyone thinks I'm a small guy, but they don't know what I've got. I'm going to show everyone."
Bell is listed at 6-1, 220 pounds in OSU's spring media guide. His height puts him in the middle of the pack as far as the team's linebackers go, but Bell said he wishes he had another two inches on his frame.
After reporting on campus for summer classes, Bell and the other freshmen have had only limited contact with the OSU coaching staff. All of their workouts have taken place under the watchful eyes of the upperclassmen on the roster.
The freshman cited both Spitler and Rolle as veterans who have helped him get his feet wet.
During spring football, linebackers coach Luke Fickell said it will be on the coaches to try and simplify the work load for what figures to be a young linebacker group.
"Probably the biggest thing we've communicated to these guys that we're not going to do a million different things because we could have some new guys, but we're really going to raise the expectation level of what we expect out of you on every single play," Fickell said. "I think that's been a good thing so far with this group because they are a little younger and more inexperienced. You've got to slow down a little bit."
That goes along with what Bell said he feels will the most important factor in whether or not he can break into the lineup: how consistent he can be on a play-by-play basis.
Asked how he can find playing time, Bell said, "Just establish myself and work really, really hard, listen to the coaches, do my assignment every single day on and off the field and just be a great student in the classroom too."
Bell's path to playing time might be eased with linebacker Tyler Moeller on the shelf for an indefinite period of time. His hope is that plenty of hard work and attitude from his teammates will lead to great things for the Buckeyes this year.
"It's a new experience for me," he said. "It feels good, coming to a great school where football is so crazy. It's a great feeling, what we're about to do this season and hopefully win a championship this year."