Video Breakdown WR Judah Bell
SENIOR YEAR STATS: 110 catches for 2,352 yards (21.4 per catch) and 18 touchdowns.
COMMITTED TO SMU OVER: SMU initially offered Bell during his junior year, but later decided it wasn't going to take a receiver in the class. Bell originally committed to Navy in August, but later decommitted. SMU brought him in on an official the weekend before signing day, and on Jan. 31, decided it had room for him in the class. When he committed to Navy, Bell also held offers from Bowling Green, Houston, Kansas, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Memphis, North Texas, UTSA, Wyoming and others.
SIDE NOTE: After an impressive senior season in which he led the nation in receiving yards, Bell was named a first-team Parade All-American.
How Bell fits
At 6-foot-3, Bell has the size to play the 9-man receiver position in SMU's offense. It's the boundary receiver spot where Courtland Sutton plays. When SMU decided it was going to take a receiver in this class, it wanted one who could play that 9-man spot. It's also not inconceivable that Bell could play tight end if he adds about 30 pounds.
What Bell brings
Bell is a downfield and end zone threat with a good catch radius and an ability to high-point the ball. He has long legs and uses his frame well once he gets going in his route. His lack of top tier speed will probably make him a reliable over-the-top threat who can move the chains, but he has the ball skills that are needed for a boundary receiver. He needs to develop a more diverse route tree and better footwork, not unlike Alex Honey when he signed with SMU. He has the frame to add to his current weight of 190 pounds. With more strength, he should be a good run blocker as well.
What to expect freshman year
With the depth SMU has at receiver, especially with Sutton back, Bell won't need to be rushed into playing time this year. He can spend the year refining his route running skills, learning how to gain separation more consistently and getting stronger.
Career expectations for Bell
Bell could eventually become SMU's starter at the 9-man, but that's likely to be in a couple seasons. His first year or two on campus may well be spent as a reserve. But when he's a more complete route runner and improves his separation skills, there's reason to think he can be a dangerous downfield weapon. Sutton has developed significantly as a route runner in his last two seasons at SMU, and he's able to separate without top-end speed. Bell has the high-pointing ability and ball skills right now, but will need to be more physical and consistent to reach that level. He's capable of reaching it, especially under a good teacher like SMU receivers coach Justin Stepp.