Bruins Get Running Back

<b>Kahlil Bell</b>, the 5-11, 200-pound running back from Northern California, committed to UCLA when he was offered a scholarship Tuesday....

Kahlil Bell, a 5-11, 206 pound tailback/fullback from Marin Catholic High in Kentfield, Calif., has committed to UCLA.

Bell is ranked by as the no.58 player in the west this recruiting cycle.

"The (UCLA) running backs coach (Eric Bieniemy) came to meet with my family yesterday," said Bell. "He said they had a scholarship for me and I committed to them. UCLA has everything that my family and I are looking for in a school. I am going to take my visit there after I get back from a basketball tournament in Hawaii."

The official trip date will be January 7th.

Bell plays at point guard for Marin and averaged seven points and five assists a game last season. He said, "I am a defensive guy. They put me in there when they want to shut someone down."

He is a football prospect that flew under the radar, mainly because he plays at a smaller school. "UCLA was my only offer," he said. "The only ones besides them showing me serious interest were Div.-1AA schools like Cal Poly and Idaho State."

"He has great vision, and he runs behind his pads," says Marin Catholic Head Coach Ken Peralta. "He's always pushing forward and gets the tough yards when you need them. He's got real good balance and good feet in traffic. He didn't fumble one time all last season (junior year). He carried 31 times for us in the championship game last year. He just gets stronger as the game goes on."

Peralta goes on: "His first 20 yards are as quick as anyone. But, he's not a 10.5 100 meter guy. His first 20 yards are above average. His second 20 is about average. He's a 4.6 guy, but he'll wear you down. He's a lot like Marcus Allen. As the game goes on, he's always there and he wears you down. He's got great endurance."

The running back agreed with many of his coach's statements. "I have very good vision and balance. I am also quick and have good feet. A lot of people try to knock my speed, but you never see me getting caught from behind."

Bell rushed for 3,299 yards and 43 touchdowns in his sophomore and junior seasons. As a sophomore at Montgomery (he transferred to Marin Catholic last year because it offered "the best chance to be a two-sport athlete and grow academically"), he rushed for 1,642 yards and 19 touchdowns to earn a spot on the All-State Sophomore Team. Then in his first season with the Wildcats, he racked up 1,657 yards and 24 TDs last year. This season, he led the Bay area in rushing with 2,300 yards and 31 touchdowns. On defense, he also totaled 70 tackles and five picks at safety. "I play both ways, but I am going to UCLA as a running back."

For his efforts, he was named first team all-league on both sides of the ball and took home league MVP honors.

During his first two varsity seasons (he played JV as a freshman at Montgomery), he helped the teams he carried the ball for go a combined 21-5, including Marin Catholic's 12-1 march to the North Coast Section Division 2A title last year. This year, he led them to the NCS title game again, but they lost to Terra Linda 21-14 and finished at 11-2.

Bell carries a 3.17 core GPA and scored a 900 on his SAT. He is undecided on a major. "I am not sure what I want to do, but I know I would like to be a coach one day so I can stay around the game I love."

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