Florida Prospect Hopes to Visit West

Zach DeBell, the 6-foot-7, 265-pound, four-star offensive tackle from Tarpons Springs, Fla., has 24 total scholarship offers, from some of the biggest programs in the country. There is a coast on the west coast he wants to visit...

Zach DeBell, the 6-foot-7, 265-pound, four-star offensive tackle from Tarpons Springs, Fla., has 24 total scholarship offers and received his most recent offer from Notre Dame about two weeks ago.

"The history behind Notre Dame is great," DeBell said. "They've been around since the beginning and they have great tradition. They sent me an education DVD and it talked about their academics and prestige of the program."

DeBell is especially impressed by the Notre Dame degree. "You can go anywhere in the world and find someone who went to Notre Dame," he said. "You can go to Europe and I'm sure you'll run into someone from Notre Dame. From Washington on the West Coast to Washington on the East Coast, you'll find Notre Dame people everywhere."

While DeBell likes Notre Dame, he has yet to visit the Irish.

He has already camped at Georgia, Tennessee, Florida and South Florida. All four have offered him except the Gators.

DeBell, ranked as the No. 25 offensive tackle in the country by Scout.com, still denies a leader but favors Georgia, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Ole Miss, South Florida and UCLA. All have offered.

He plans on visiting Georgia again on July 16. "The people there are very kind and nice," he said about Georgia. "Coach Mark Richt is great. He showed me around and I got to check out his office too.

"He has this whiteboard that his son drew a picture of a bulldog on when he was like a little kid," he said. "He still has it and hasn't erased it. He kept it all these years."

Today (July 9), DeBell visits South Carolina and on July 12, he'll be visiting Tennessee again. "Everything was great (at Tennessee)," he said. "The stadium is huge and the indoor practice facility is really cool."

He says he also likes Vol coaches Harry Hiestand (offensive line coach) and Derek Dooley (head coach). "I've talked with both of them and they're great," he said. "Coach Dooley is a good guy and has a great sense of humor. He's very welcoming and very well organized.

"The Tennessee ‘T' is exactly the same of our (Tarpon Springs) ‘T'," he said. "And that's pretty cool. He (coach Dooley) has a giant ‘T' on his desk and I took a picture of it because I thought it was so cool."

Although South Florida is only 45 minutes from DeBell's house, he says that distance will not be a factor. "Skip Holtz is pretty cool," he said about the Bulls new head coach.

One school that DeBell has not visited yet, but hopes to, is UCLA. "The farthest west I've been is to Mississippi," he said.

"It's just like Florida," he said about California. "The sun shines all the time and the girls are pretty, or whatever the line to that song is.

"But seriously, I think that UCLA would be just like home," he said. "It's warm and nice all the time, but without the humidity."

Growing up DeBell followed Appalachian State. "A lot of people think that's weird," he said. "But it's not weird to me."

It's not weird to DeBell because both his parents went there. "My aunt went there too and my uncle taught there," he said. "I grew up on App State."

DeBell plans to make his decision during the season.

He says he also has offers from Minnesota, UCF, Florida International, Iowa State, South Carolina, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Western Kentucky, Louisville, Purdue, Memphis, Kentucky, North Carolina State, Michigan, Missouri, Rutgers, West Virginia and Virginia.

DeBell says he ran a personal best 4.87 forty at Florida a few weeks ago.

"I'm quick and have great hand placement," he said. "I have great feet too. I play very aggressive, but I'm still controlled. I don't go crazy…it's a controlled rage, like my old coach used to say."

He says he can bench 320-pounds and squat 430.

"I need to work on keeping my pad level lower," he said. "I want to improve my technique and keep my heels on the ground and stuff like that."

DeBell plans to major in either media broadcasting or communications and reports a 3.0 core GPA. He took the SAT already as well. "But I'm not happy with my score and I'll take it again," he said.

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