published Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Vonn Bell trims colleges to UT, Bama, OSU

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    Ridgeland's Vonn Bell is one of the paper's Dynamite Dozen football players.
    Photo by Jake Daniels.
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Ridgeland High School elite football prospect Vonn Bell narrowed his list of prospective colleges to three Saturday, and the Tennessee Volunteers made the cut.

The senior safety, widely ranked in the top five in his position in the country by recruiting services, listed the Vols, Alabama and Ohio State as the finalists and will take official visits to each over the next few weeks. Cut from the list are Georgia, Vanderbilt, Clemson and Texas.

"Vonn and his family have gone through the process for a few weeks, trying to narrow it down and make sure they look at all the variables," Ridgeland coach Mark Mariakis said. "They've decided this is the best fit of him. He'll take his visits and eventually choose his school. There is no time frame, but I expect him to commit before signing day."

Bell and his family asked each of the seven programs he was interested in to answer three questions. The answers, according to Mariakis, played a big part in Saturday's decision.

"All three of them fit the academic picture first, and they each have a good game plan for him academically," said Mariakis, who noted that Bell plans to pursue an education degree. "They've got great plans for graduation and to keep him on track for graduation, and, of course, all three have great football programs.

"Those are three places he feels he can go in and play and do well. He doesn't necessarily believe he will go in and play right away, but every kid wants to play as soon as they can."

Contact Lindsey Young at or at 423-757-6296.

about Lindsey Young...

Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...

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