USC added one of the top athletes in Georgia to its recruiting class Wednesday afternoon with a commitment from TE Jaheim Bell (6-3 204) of Valdosta. Bell chose the Gamecocks over Florida State and Oklahoma. He originally committed to Florida but backed out of that on July 4th, and that opened the door for the Gamecocks.
Bell had visited USC in February for a junior day, then took an official visit in June and returned for the Alabama game this season. He also took an official visit to Oklahoma and several unofficial visits to Florida State when Willie Taggart was coach. Virginia Tech and Tennessee were two others he considered.
Bell can also flex out to a receiver and from his official visit with the Gamecocks he recalled the plan Will Muschamp and Bryan McClendon laid out for him.
“They showed me different things about how they would use me in the offense at receiver,” Bell said. “I like it. It’s similar to what I do at my high school. It would be an easy transition. They’ve been telling me that pretty much I can come in and play right now. They just said they want to get me the ball the best way they can.”
Bell missed most of his senior season due to a torn ACL suffered in a practice. When healthy, his coach, Alan Rodemaker, said he’s as good a playmaker as you can find at his position.
“He’s a freak now,” Rodemaker said. “He’s a guy who in last year’s region basketball tournament tore down the backboard and shattered the backboard. He’s one of those guys very gifted. Probably got somewhere near 40 inch vertical, runs a 4.5 forty. He’s 6-3, 215 or 220, he’s just a freak athlete. He can do a lot of good things. He’s got great hand-eye coordination. He’s a running back, he’s a wide out, he’s a tight end, he’s a fullback, he’s whatever you want him to be.”
As a junior, Bell had 70 catches for 800 yards and 14 touchdowns.