February 23, 2009

Bell family ties run strong for CSU

While college coaches are just beginning their evaluations on most high school players, Wichita Bishop Carroll High School dual-threat quarterback Blake Bell already has an impressive list of 17 offers. The 6-foot-6, 210-pound Bell has offers from a virtual who's who of college football programs including such powers as Georgia, Oklahoma, Kansas, LSU and Notre Dame.

Bell's numbers explain the man crush coaches are showing towards the Kansas signalcaller. Last season Bell completed 215-of-337 passes for 2,871 yards. He threw for 34 touchdowns, while being picked off just eight times. in four games last season he threw for better than 300 yards, including a 350-yard performance against Kapaun, Mont. Proving more than just a one-trick pony, Bell rushed 79 times for 327 yards and 12 touchdowns.

"I like to sling it around," Bell says. "That is my favorite thing about playing quarterback. I like to be in control and be able to just stand back there and throw the football."

Bell said right now he is putting recruiting on the back burner to some extent until after basketball season. Bell is playing power forward for Bishop Carroll and averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds per game for the Eagles, who have won their last five games in a row with the playoffs one week away.

He added right now, he is looking for a football program that will allow him to throw the ball, but not specifically a spread offense.

"When it comes down to it, I want a school that will get me in the shotgun a little bit, but I would like to get under center and play some pro-style too, because at the end of the day, that is what the NFL is looking for. They want someone who has experience playing under center," Bell adds.

While BCS schools from around the country are falling all over themselves for Bell's services, Colorado State is also getting a look from the Kansas quarterback. Much of that has to do with the family's connection to the Colorado State program and Ram head coach Steve Fairchild.

"My dad and my uncle both went there (CSU) and played and said it is great experience," Bell says. "They said they could never pay back something like that. I have been up there a couple times when I was younger. It was nice. I don't remember much about it, but we got to go on the sidelines for the game."

Bell's father, Mark was a tight end who caught passes from Fairchild, while Bell's uncle, Mike chased quarterbacks for the Rams as a defensive end. Bell said his family loved their time in Fort Collins, but they are also leaving this decision up to him.

"They are with me wherever I feel is best for me," Bell says. "But they are not really pushing me to Colorado State. They did say it was a blast and put that good word in for Colorado State. At this point, yeah, I am keeping it wide open and giving everyone a shot. I am looking into every school and getting to know them a little bit better."

Bell's lead recruiter is CSU assistant coach Scott Brown, but is also getting letters from Fairchild as well as CSU quarterbacks coach Daren Wilkinson. One other Rams recruiter is closer to Bell than Fort Collins - his tight end and current Colorado State commit Joe Brown.

"He is always telling me, 'come on man, commit to CSU, come with me,'" Bell says. "They are getting a great players (in Brown). He was a key to my success. People weren't giving him a look because of his size, but he is going to fit in there and make a big impact if he stays healthy."

Bell added that his father and uncle did spend an evening at Joe Brown's house during Brown's recruitment telling war stories of their days in Fort Collins.

Bell said he currently doesn't have any favorites, but a school he grew up following has offered a scholarship.

"I've always been a big Oklahoma fan and they have offered me, but at this point you look at reality and check out every school and make sure that school will fit you," he says.

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