TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Two years ago, Wilson Bell wasn't exactly thinking about the NFL. His football prowess had grown by leaps and bounds over the past few seasons, but as a junior at Blount High School in Prichard, Ala., making the game his profession seemed a stretch.
Then came the letters, the phone calls, the text messages and the promises.
By the time Bell, a three-star offensive guard, signed his letter of intent to play at Florida State last month, he'd made the NFL his top priority, and he'd heard from dozens of coaches assuring him they possessed the perfect plan to get him there. He'd endured enough speeches to parse the good ones from the bad, he said, and Florida State's offensive line coach, Rick Trickett, sold it perfectly.
"Of course other guys sold better things to me about their school, but nobody could really compare to Trickett and the names he's put in the NFL," Bell said. "And that's what I really want to do."
Trickett wasn't simply talking a big game. He had references.
Trickett told Bell about a number of his success stories, including Rodney Hudson, a fellow Mobile-area native now playing for the Kansas City Chiefs. Many of Trickett's pupils had started their college careers as works in progress, and Trickett had transformed them into NFL linemen. Bell was convinced.
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