Bell is one of Tar Heel State's best

David W. Butler (Matthews, NC) standout linebacker Hawatha Bell is one of the most highly sought after linebackers in the Tar Heel state's class of 2009. The talented two-way star has offers from a host of schools at this time, including one from Coach Ray Rychleski and the Gamecocks. Read inside to see where South Carolina stands with this elite linebacker target.

South Carolina looked to sign a large group of linebackers in the class of 2008, but after missing on multiple high-quality prospects the Gamecocks were in on, the staff needs to sign a big, talented group this recruiting cycle.

One such linebacker who fits the bill is 6'0", 230 pound linebacker Hawatha Bell. The active linebacker had a very productive junior year when he racked up 125 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 2 fumble recoveries. The versatile Bell also plays running back for the Bulldogs.

Bell's play and athletic ability has led to him picking up offers from Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, UNC, Maryland, Miami, South Carolina, ECU, and Illinois.

Bell, who claims a 4.5 flat 40-yard dash, made the short trip south to Columbia to check out the Gamecocks junior day earlier this month.

"Right now I'm liking South Carolina. I felt comfortable when I went down there. It just feels like that's where I'm supposed to be at, so I just look forward to continue talking with my recruiting coordinator (Ray Rychleski) about the whole thing."

The hard-hitting linebacker had nothing but positive things to say about Rychleski.

"He is a very calm coach. He's very into his players, and he means business," Bell said. "I like him as a coach, and I'm ready to get to know him some more."

Bell is looking forward to spending more time with USC defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Ellis Johnson as well.

"Right now I really can't say much. I have met him, but there were a whole bunch of other kids so he had to go around and meet other prospects (at USC's junior day). All I can say (from) talking to him for a few minutes is he is a great guy."

Despite his positive comments about USC, Bell says he has one other school he wants to see before he can make a decision.

"I have two (former teammates) going to Virginia Tech," Bell said. "I want to see what Virginia Tech has to offer that made both of my teammates commit there. They tell me Virginia Tech is a great school."

Bell broke down what he likes most about each of his two favorite schools.

South Carolina: "Coach Spurrier has a very good history of getting people to the NFL. That's my whole plan to get to the NFL. I really feel like South Carolina is a team that's going to help me get there."

Virginia Tech: "For Virginia Tech, it's the same way. Even though I haven't been down there yet, it just seems like from what I hear from (E.J.) Whitley and Jarrett Boykin (Butler class of 2008 Virginia Tech signees), they'll get you where you need to be."

According to Bell, he is working out the details to make it to Virginia Tech's junior day and South Carolina's Garnet and Black Spring Game.

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