Alabama landed its 10th commitment in the 2018 class on Monday afternoon when California 3-star offensive lineman Jarrett Bell chose the Crimson Tide over Arizona and Washington State among others.
RELATED: Jarrett Bell commits to Alabama
Before July 18 of this year, the coaching staff had no idea who Bell even was. Bell visited Tuscaloosa for the first time on that day with his trainer, former Southern California linebacker and NFL fullback Jordan Campbell, who now runs Winner Circle Athletics.
Campbell, who was the nation’s No. 3 inside linebacker in the Class of 2007 according to Rivals.com’s rankings (Chris Donald was No. 1 and Rolando McClain was No. 2.), so he is very familiar with the recruiting process.
Campbell told Bell that once he registered for the camp and the coaches saw him, they would start to take notice because he’s 6-foot-4 and weighs 290 pounds. That’s exactly what happened.
“They started to follow him with a camera and then moved him up to the top group,” Campbell told SEC Country. “I told him that every rep you take, you need to stand tall and continue to be at the front of the line and lead the group. They’re going to have to ask who you are eventually. When he got to positional drills, some of the other guys were struggling with technique. Jarrett is very coachable and applied what the coaches were telling him in the drills.”
Bell has primarily focused on the offensive line for three months now. That’s one reason why before his commitment to Alabama, he was a 2-star prospect on the 247Sports Composite. He’s now a 3-star prospect.
He hasn’t gone to any recruiting showcases where reporters could get a good look at him. Bell has instead focused his attention on the weight room and on the football field where he’s transitioning to offensive line full-time.
There are some doubters, though, when you base your decision on why Alabama would take a low 3-star prospect, who is projected to play center. Campbell has an answer for that that should make Tide fans happy.
“When you’re 6-foot-4, 290 pounds, only have 14 percent body fat, can run a sub 5-second 40-yard dash, a 4.4 shuttle time, have a 30-inch vert and can bench 225 pounds 18 times, that’s NFL combine numbers. I would know from playing in the NFL that he is what they are looking for. There aren’t many at center who are as athletic as him, have over a 3.0 GPA and can get his teammates lined up. He’s a no-brainer.
“When you put together all of his training and what he’s done on the field in the past three months and where he’s going to be when he gets to Alabama, you want that kid on your team.”
The nation’s No. 24 offensive guard can squat 550 pounds, deadlift 525 pounds, bench 405 pounds and rep 225 pounds 18 times. Those are impressive numbers for a player who’s just entering his senior season of high school.
Alabama’s coaches, before they offered Bell a scholarship back in camp, wanted to get Campbell’s opinion on if he felt his client belonged in Tuscaloosa.
“They asked me if he was tough and I told them that I wouldn’t have brought him there if he was soft,” Campbell said. “He’s tough as nails.”
Bell will enroll at Alabama this upcoming January. Once he got the scholarship offer last month, there was no doubt that the Crimson Tide was going to be the school he picked.
“Alabama is the best school in the country,” Campbell said. “Where else would he want to go? Guys get drafted every year on the offensive line from there. I played at USC when Pete Carroll was there, and just like at Alabama, you have a great opportunity to play at the next level.”
What Bell’s commitment means for Alabama moving forward
Bell’s commitment definitely affects the offensive line board because that’s one more spot taken that I have projected someone else to fill. Before Monday, my projected offensive line class was 4-star tackle Tommy Brown, who’s committed, and 4-star guards Jerome Carvin and Penei Sewell.
Brown isn’t going anywhere. He’s a legacy and wanted the Alabama offer for years. He’s locked in with this class. Carvin has told SEC Country that Alabama and Tennessee are standing out to him, but his best relationship is with the Volunteers staff. Sewell seems to be trending Alabama’s way, but the Crimson Tide staff is aware of the push by Oregon.
Bell is being recruited as a center, but that’s one more spot taken in the offensive line group that was expected to be only three players deep. With Bell on board, I think he takes Carvin’s spot.
Sewell will have a spot waiting for him whenever he announces his decision, which is expected before the start of his senior season. That means a commitment could be coming later this month. His father told SEC Country after the family’s trip to Tuscaloosa in June that Alabama was going to be tough to beat.
“We, as a family, need to figure out which school is going to be the best option to help achieve his goals of making it to the NFL,” Gabriel Sewell said. “You do the math. I don’t have to tell you what school that may be.”
Four-star tackle prospects Nicholas Petit-Frere and William Barnes remain in the mix for Alabama, too, but both appear to be trending toward Florida at this time. Petit-Frere is the Tide’s top tackle target. According to sources close to the Florida program, the Gators feel confident with both players.
There’s also 4-star offensive guard Emil Ekiyor, who’s currently committed to Michigan. Ekiyor visited Tuscaloosa in July for the Champions Cookout and left with another favorable impression of the school. The Crimson Tide staff is confident it can get Ekiyor to flip down the road. He’s expected back on campus this fall for an official visit.