George Bell is one of the top running backs in the entire nation, but there have been questions about his health after a nasty knee injury.
But Bell is working hard this offseason and putting all those doubts to rest. He's got new offers in hand and is getting only positive vibes from college coaches across the country.
"George's injury is healing very well," said Bell's coach Richard Bailey at Fayetteville (N.C.) Jack Britt. "Doctors are very pleased with how he's coming along. I would say he's about 85-percent of where he was before the injury. He's doing a lot of running drills and sprinting. He has good lateral movement and is doing leg curls and squats. His knee isn't a problem at all.
"The only things that aren't the same are his hamstring muscles and some smaller supporting muscles, just because they haven't been used in so long. But the doctor says his knee is tight -- in other words it's really good. He's still saying it might be September before he's ready to play, but we think he's going to be fine."
In less than three games last year Bell rushed for nearly 600 yards and seven touchdowns. He's 5-foot-11 and 225 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds. He bench presses an astounding 365 pounds and his lower body strength is good as well.
"Schools are still coming after him hard," said Bailey. "Recently he's gotten offers from Virginia Tech and LSU, and he already had offers from East Carolina, NC State, North Carolina and Maryland. UCLA has basically offered him. They just want him to fly out to Los Angeles on June 16 so their doctors can have a look at him.
"Schools like Tennessee, Michigan, Nebraska and Wake Forest have said that they have an offer set aside for him if he wants it, but they have to see him play. They want to be able to honor his commitment if he did commit to them, but they have to know if he can play. They want to see him take one snap on the field, but they have said they've got offers for him.
"Some schools want to wait on him just because they've said that they want someone that can come in and help out as a true freshman. Those who have offered have said they'll trust that he'll heal before his senior season starts. And even if he's still rusty they could redshirt him for a year. Some schools like him that much."
Bell's biological father lives in Los Angeles and coach Bailey stressed that the chance to play in front of him was the biggest draw thus far. Because of that, UCLA and USC are very interested in Bell, and he plans on visiting both schools this summer. His step brother plays at Oregon State, but the Beavers haven't shown as much interest as the Bruins or Trojans.
"He's definitely going to UCLA and USC this summer. He was going to Michigan but that was at the same time as his California trip, so he's going to get out there later. He will probably go to LSU some time. He thought hard about going to North Carolina, but he's already been there and to schools like NC State and Tennessee. I've encouraged him to go places this summer he hasn't been, or places he might not get another chance to visit. But local schools like UNC and NC State love him.
"Location isn't going to be a factor at all in his decision, because he's got family on both coasts. He's been with his mother and step-father since he was three so he would love for them to be able to see him play, but he's remained close with his biological father as well. But the fact that his dad is out there is a big draw, no doubt out it."