Alvonte Bell stands out

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Even at an event with nearly 300 prospects, 6-foot-6, 220-pound Everglades (Fla.) High School defensive end Alvonte Bell is tough to miss.

During Saturday's Elite Scouting Services combine Bell continued to enhance his status as a prospect on the rise.

"It's going to just be a matter of time before every major program knows who Alvonte Bell is," said Miami Herald recruiting writer Larry Blustein. "He is going to be the next Jason Pierre-Paul."

Bell, who ran the 40-yard dash in under 4.7 seconds and the shuttle at 4.41, is honored by the comparison.

"I'm not sure about all of that," Bell said. "I'm honored that Mr. Blustein or anyone thinks I'm going to be that good, but Jason Pierre-Paul is a Super Bowl champion and I have a long ways to go before I get there."

Pierre-Paul, who starred at Deerfield Beach (Fla.) in 2006, and Bell were both basketball-first guys who made the permanent transition to football later in their high school athletic careers.

Even though Bell has been playing football since he was a freshman, the junior always thought basketball was going to be his signature sport.

"I was definitely into basketball and still love basketball," Bell said. "But I see all the opportunities that football can provide for me and it's important that I continue to focus on improving my skills as a football player."

After a junior season with 40 tackles and 11 sacks Bell continues to take steps in the right direction. He hopes to use the camp season to improve on his technique and get more out of his speed.

Not surprisingly Bell's recruitment has gotten off to a solid start with offers from Louisville, West Virginia, Ole Miss, FIU, SMU, Illinois and most recently Notre Dame.

Right now Bell has no favorites and is just trying to learn more about the programs that offered and the ones that remain interested.

"There are a lot of schools calling about me and coming down for the spring," Bell said. "The in-state schools -- USF, Miami and Florida State -- are all going to be down here as well.

"I know the out-of-state programs want to see me on campus and I'd like to look at several programs over the summer if I can figure out ways to get there."

So far Bell has visited Miami and South Florida.

"I went to Miami a couple of weeks ago for their junior day and to watch a basketball game," Bell added. "They are trying to build some new facilities, new ways to help the football players get more out of the school."

As for South Florida, he's developed a good bond with the assistant coach responsible for his recruitment.

"I went there about three weeks ago and I really liked it," Bell said. "I have a pretty good relationship with Coach [Vernon] Hargreaves already.

"One of the things I really liked when on my visit was seeing how they put academics before athletics with all the players."

To prepare for the spring. Bell is doing an interesting collection of events in track.

"I'm actually doing the power events and the sprints," Bell added. "I do the shot put and the discus but I'm also probably going to run a leg in the 4x100 relay and I might run the 100 as well."

The different skill sets makes for a unique prospect that Blustein feels will blow up during the spring.

The different skill sets makes for a unique prospect that could be in line for a fruitful spring.

"The main goal with Alvonte is to keep him focused and keep him working hard," said Everglades coach Josh Shapiro. "There are a lot of good things in front of him and as long as he stays on the right track and puts in the work. I think he's going to be a big-time player."