published Friday, January 4th, 2013

Ridgeland High School's Bell enjoys All-America week

Ridgeland High School's Vonn Bell has the ball.
Ridgeland High School's Vonn Bell has the ball.
Photo by Dan Henry.

Everywhere Vonn Bell goes, he's being pulled, prodded or led. Not that the Ridgeland High School football star minds.

In fact, as he's gone through the first three days of practices and gatherings for the Under Armour All-America Game in Orlando, Bell has enjoyed playing coy with the media and his fellow all-stars when asked where he will play collegiately. Kipp Adams, ESPN recruiting contributor, said Bell has the "best poker face among all the players."

"You know, they all do their networking, trying to get me to go here or there," said Bell, a member of the Black team in today's game (ESPN, 5 p.m.). "I'm having a good time being around all these great players and competing."

Several will use the event as platforms to announce their college plans, but Bell won't be one of them. He put recruiting aside during Ridgeland's unprecedented run to the Georgia Class AAAA championship game and plans to use the next three weeks to decide among finalists Alabama, Ohio State and Tennessee.

Bell will make official visits to OSU on Jan. 11, Alabama on the 18th and Tennessee on the 25th. Until then he insists his mind is wide open and what he learns on the visits will determine his choice.

Ridgeland coach Mark Mariakis, who accompanied Bell on the trip, said his player has more than held his own during practice and that neither one of them will forget the week any time soon.

"It's an incredible event," Mariakis said. "The way they treat these kids, it's like they're at a major bowl game. Everything is first class, completely over the top. They treat the [high school] coaches well also. We just had a chalk talk with [game coaches] Steve Mariucci and Herm Edwards.

"Vonn has done quite well and he's not been overwhelmed at all. I know he's made several friends, and that's always important."

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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