Trinity Bell: "I am hopping on that Tennessee train"
The Vols were the first school to offer the 6-foot-7, 250 pound jumbo-athlete out of Albertville (Ala.) February 18, 2019. Around a year later, he was getting that feeling about the school that has those checkerboard end zones.
In-state school Auburn made it interesting, and the Tigers were Tennessee's biggest competition, but the consistency Tennessee had over the last 12 months pushed them to the top.
IN HIS OWN WORDS: "I have been thinking for a while that Tennessee is the school for me for about three months now," said Bell. "I thought about it, I wasn't sure when I was going to commit, but with the strong relationship I have with the coaches there, I have kind of known for a while that I was committing to Tennessee."
"I picked Tennessee over Auburn, and I like both schools, and I have good relationships with the coaches at each school, but I have gotten so close with coach Os (Joe Osovet, tight ends), that is really what the biggest difference was for me.
"I told coach Pruitt about my commitment about two weeks ago. I was supposed to call him that day anyway, so I do not think he knew I was going to commit to him at that time, but it was cool. He is from Alabama like me, he started hollering about the 256 (area code) and things like that. It was a cool conversation and he was very excited."
"My connection with the Tennessee coaches is very strong. I think they like me and care about me, I like them, they are fun guys and I feel comfortable around them. I talk to coach Os a lot, I know coach Tee Martin well, I talk to coach Chaney, I talk to coach Niedermeyer — I really know them all. They are great.
"I have visited Tennessee five or six times and the environment is like home and very welcoming for me when I am there. I can go there and it is like I am at my high school. I definitely feel very comfortable there and that was a key factor for me.
"I was thinking about waiting until my senior year, but with so much up in the air about visits and all that, I had the feeling I was ready. I really have a good feeling about Tennessee, I feel more relaxed now that I have made the decision and I am really happy with everything that has happened for me. I do not have to worry with recruiting anymore and I am feeling good.
"I think Tennessee is recruiting really well right now. Things are going great and I am hopping on that Tennessee train. It is rolling strong, the coaches are great with recruits and I couldn't be happier. I have worked every day to get where I am and I know Tennessee is going to make me the best player I can be."
THE LOSER: Auburn is the easy choice here. Bell is a target of their's, and likely will remain one with verbal commitments not meaning too much in recruiting these days. Bell is likely to take other visits, and now, Tennessee will become the hunted instead of the hunter. Other schools could jump in this race, but as it has been for a couple of months, this is likely to stay a Tennessee and Auburn battle leading up to Signing Day.
RIVALS REACTION: It is all about potential and upside with Bell. He has always loved basketball, and he still has somewhat a slender, basketball like body, even at around 260 pounds. He is a very lean 260, and that makes him that much more intriguing. Tennessee took his commitment as a tight end according to Bell, but he is open to playing anywhere. Some schools liked him as a strongside end, and even others envision him as an athletic defensive tackle. He has the frame to add weight, to add strength, and he still has a lot of room to develop as a player on both sides of the ball. His size, athleticism and upside make him a very appealing prospect, so Tennessee has to like what it has to work with.