Every weekday until signing day, NittanyNation will break down a commitment from Penn State’s 2013 recruiting class.
Vitals: Linebacker Brandon Bell, Mays Landing, N.J./Oakcrest, 6-foot, 222 pounds
Committed: June 13, 2012
ESPN.com grade: 77; three-star prospect
ESPN.com rankings: No. 65 at position, No. 90 in region, No. 25 in state
Picked Penn State over: Boston College, Northwestern, Rutgers, West Virginia and others
State of the position: Butkus Award semifinalists Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti will both be in the NFL this coming season, so some new faces will have to step up. Glenn Carson and Mike Hull are the two big names here, but the other outside spot is still up for grabs. Ben Kline and Nyeem Wartman will likely compete for that, and Gary Wooten is the dark horse.
Pros: " We like the way this prospect plays in space; can turn and change direction showing very good long pursuit playing speed. Demonstrates the initial quickness needed to get off the mark and aggressively attack the inside run; is a downhill player inside and off the edge; is quick to pop an open gap or scrape off the edge; moves through traffic well, showing very good sideline-to-sideline range when defending the run. This prospect has the instincts and nose for the football that allow him to make plays all over the field." -- ESPN scouting report
Cons: "Is a strong over-the-pads inside runner with one-step lateral quickness and steady speed but lacking a burst or second gear when in the open field ... Needs more experience defending the pass ... Bell does not appear to be an immediate starter at the BCS level of play; some time may be needed to add bulk to his frame." -- ESPN scouting report
Similar to/potential role: Bell's scouting report is pretty similar to Kline's when he first arrived at Penn State two years ago: a little rough around the edges but a downhill player with a good motor who can stop the run. Like Kline, however, he'll likely redshirt in 2013 unless PSU needs some extra bodies on special teams.
Expected impact: 2015. Bell is more of an outside linebacker, and he'll have a shot at the No. 4 LB spot in 2014. With added competition from Wooten and fellow 2013 commitment Zayd Issah, however, that's no lock. He'll likely need another year on the sidelines before really bursting onto the scene, but he should still see plenty of special teams work as a redshirt freshman. In 2015, when Hull leaves, Bell should compete for a starting job.