Fall camp is starting up next week for Tyler Bishop TK Gorman High School and 2017 wide receiver Judah Bell is hoping to have his recruitment shut down before then, but right now he’s having trouble eliminating two schools.
“Now I have it down to SMU, Navy and Kansas,” Bell told Today’s U on Saturday. “It’s between those three. I’ll be committing sometime between tonight and August 2nd.”
Early Saturday, Bell hadn’t had his mind made up and was still struggling to eliminate even one of his three finalists.
“I’m still doing a lot of praying about it,” Bell said. “As soon as I have peace from the Lord about a decision, that’s when I will make the decision and jump the gun and say where I’m going to go.”
Congratulations to Juda Bell for making the 2016 East Texas Dream Team. Go CRU !!! pic.twitter.com/ZOTZ3IMUBs
— rod kaspar (@rodkaspar) July 30, 2016
The 247Sports 87 overall three-star also holds offers from Houston, Wyoming, Bowling Green, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana-Lafayette, North Texas, New Mexico and several others.
“What I’ve heard from the majority of the coaches is they know I’m not a speedster, I’m not a 4.3 guy, but they like that I compete downfield for the ball,” Bell said. “I have a good catch radius and good strength for the position I play and they like my route running.”
Each of Bell’s finalists have different qualities that have caught his attention.
“SMU has a great coaching staff,” Bell said. “It’s close to home, roughly an hour and a half from where I live right now. Also, they have a great spiritual environment there and a great educational environment. Overall I feel it would be a good school.”
Although it does happen sometimes, passing up an offer to a Power 5 school is generally uncommon and that opportunity has the 6-foot-4, 191-pounder giving a hard look at the Jayhawks.
“Kansas is a Big 12 program,” Bell said. “Even though they didn’t have a great year last year, it’s only a matter of time before they bounce back and their coaching staff sends people to the league.”
Last but not least, Bell hasn’t ruled out the possibility of joining a service academy and taking the field for the Midshipmen.
“With Navy, there’s the military aspect of it that I like and the discipline aspect,” Bell said. “I can learn a lot about life and I just feel like it’s a great school. They do a great job of building character there, graduating from the Naval Academy can set you up for success in life, if you stay on top of your stuff and do what you’re supposed to do.”
Of the three finalists, Bell has only visited SMU, so even though he’s planning to commit by Tuesday, there’s a good chance he’ll still visit the other two schools, and possibly others.
“I’m trying to make some,” Bell said. “I know I will be able to take officials in October. This summer has been busy with camps, SAT and ACT prep. I’ve talked to coaches and some coaches want me to still come down and check the place out, even if they aren’t the school I choose. I will definitely have some time to do that in the fall, especially on a bye week.”
Two Big Ten schools have also shown interest in Bell, who caught 68 passes for 1,350 yards and 16 touchdowns last year.
“Indiana and Illinois,” Bell said. “I’ve had a lot of contact with the receivers coaches at those schools. The receivers coach at Illinois, we talk a couple of times every month and they said they would be watching this season.
“The same thing with (Kevin) Johns, he’s the receivers coach at Indiana and along the same lines, they said they’ll be watching and see how things go. They will watch my first couple non-district games and go from there.”
If an offer ends up coming in from either Big Ten program, the three-star will probably be interested.
“If I end up getting offered by Illinois or Indiana sometime in the season I would like to visit, or both, if they both offer,” Bell said.
So at the end of the day, what will it ultimately take for a school to land the big wideout?
“I think the most important factor for me will be for me to go to a school where I can get a great education and get a great education with the game of football, but also my spiritual growth and character growth,” Bell said. “I want my time to be spent on these coaches making me a better man and a better football player. However long I stay, I want to be more mature when I come out than when I come in.”