|Height: 6-0 | Weight: 190 | College: Wisconsin|
The fifth-year senior and three-year starter has developed into a talented run stopper from his right cornerback position. The leader of the Badgers secondary has the size, speed and strength to consistently jam and reroute receivers at the line of scrimmage. A former free safety, Bell has experience to play any position in the defensive backfield.
Bell was a Reebok/ESPN preseason All-American selection as a senior at Warrenville South High School, but a knee injury would sideline him after only two games. He was a member of Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report "Super Team" and a top-60 prospect nationally by Student Sports magazine.
As a senior, Bell recorded 20 tackles, two interceptions and four pass deflections. He made 80 tackles with four interceptions and five touchdowns on special teams on the way to earning All-State honors as a junior. In addition to excelling in football, Bell also lettered in track, clocking personal bests of 10.6 seconds in the 100-meter and 21.6 seconds in the 200-meter dashes.
He appeared mostly on special teams as a true freshman at Wisconsin in 2001, making one assisted tackle. In 2002, he competed at free safety, delivering 33 tackles (19 solos) with a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and two pass deflections while starting two of fourteen contests.
Bell shifted to right cornerback in 2003, starting the first three games before undergoing left shoulder surgery that would sideline him for the rest of the season. He finished with 12 tackles (9 solos). He returned to right cornerback in 2004, starting every game. Bell ranked third on the team with a career-high 64 tackles (51 solos) and also caused a fumble. He deflected thirteen passes and also had three interceptions.
As a senior, he lined up at right cornerback for the third consecutive year. Bell posted 35 tackles (28 solos) with two stops for losses and a fumble recovery. He also had an interception and eight pass breakups.
Positives: Has a good-sized frame for his position with room for additional growth for a possible move to free safety Shows good field vision and awareness, quickly breaking down plays Knows how to open his hips and take good angles in his lateral pursuit Shows toughness and strength stepping into the box to fill the lanes in rush support Has the plant-and- drive agility to turn out of his breaks and make plays on the ball in front of him Does a good job of keeping his eyes on the receiver rather than peeking into the backfield, staying low in his pads to get a quick break on the ball Active with his hands in man coverage, showing the jolt needed to jam and reroute his opponent Has the natural hands to secure the ball on the interception Physical tackler with the power to hit with a thud, showing urgency in his burst to make plays on the ball inside the box.
Negatives: Might not have the timed speed to consistently shadow receivers on long routes Needs to improve his timing and ball anticipation skills, as he is only marginal competing for the jump ball Better hitter than a tackler, as he relies too much on punishing the opponent rather than wrapping and securing Throws himself at the ballcarrier's lower legs too much, allowing opponent to slip off his hits Has good range to make plays in front of him, does not stay tight on the receiver's hip in man coverage, drifting in and out of the route, resulting in a big offensive play Has matured in recent years, but was cited twice and suspended once in 2002 for off-field fighting that resulted in legal action Durability could be a concern, as he has had arthroscopic surgery on both shoulders and twice suffered a right knee anterior cruciate ligament injury The coaching staff says he has good field intelligence, but his low test score (10) is a cause for concern.
Bell has a well-built frame with a tight waist, good bubble and large hands. His arms are shorter than ideal, but he has improved his strength after slowly recovering from surgery on both of his shoulders in 2003. He has adequate playing speed and good athletic ability for his position, and shows enough range to also play free safety.
Bell shows good urgency locating the ball. He has an adequate burst coming out of his backpedal and while he gathers some on his breaks, he does a nice job of closing on plays in front of him. He plays with good strength and field vision, showing true courage coming up to fill the rush lanes and take on blocks with aggression.
Bell takes proper angles in pursuit and shows the hip swerve to plant and drive out of his breaks effectively. He sometimes relies too much on his acceleration to recover when beaten, but does not have that second gear necessary to mirror the receiver on long routes. Still, he gives good effort in pursuit and displays the hand usage to jam and reroute the receiver coming off the snap.
Bell does a fine job of keeping his eyes on the receiver and not looking into the backfield at the quarterback. His zone awareness, especially on combo routes, and ability to keep the ball in front of him might make him better suited for free safety at the pro level. He gets a good break on the ball, but needs to time his leaps better to compete for the pass at its highest point.
He is a physical open field tackler who hits with authority, but will see a few receivers bounce off his initial hit, as he lacks consistency wrapping and securing (will give a shoulder or arm tackle). When he hits above the waist, he will generally make the play, but when he throws himself at the opponent's lower legs they can easily sidestep or hurdle over him for additional yardage.
Bell will add depth to the secondary at the next level, but must improve his timed speed and jumping anticipation agility if he hopes to be a starting cornerback in the pros. He has enough size and strength to possibly make a successful move to free safety, especially with his ability to keep plays in front of him. His short space quickness and good break on the ball adds to his value in run support.
Bell joined the Wisconsin program as a free safety, moving to right cornerback as a junior, where he started his last 24 games Intercepted four passes and deflected 23 others.
All-Big Ten Conference second-team preseason selection by The NFL Draft Report Named one of the team's four captains Lined up at right cornerback Recorded 35 tackles (28 solo) with two tackles for losses, one pass deflection and eight passes broken up.
|2005 Game Analysis|
Bowling Green Opened the season with a pair of tackles and two pass deflections, but was beaten for a touchdown when QB Omar Jacobs connected with Charles Sharon on a 20-yard scoring strike in the fourth quarter (TD was set up by a 7-yard penalty assessed to Bell for pass interference during that drive) Deflected a Jacobs pass that was intended for Marques Parks in the second quarter and knocked a third-&-6 pass by Jacobs to Sharon in the third quarter After giving up four touchdown passes in the first half, the Badgers allowed only one in the final thirty minutes of action Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Charles Sharon-Eight catches for 116 yards and a touchdown.
Temple Did not record any tackles, but did knock down three passes as the secondary allowed only 56 yards passing All of his pass break-ups came on second-down plays, including twice knocking the ball away from receiver Bruce Gordon Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Bruce Gordon-Two catches for 21 yards.
North Carolina Followed with four solo tackles and an interception Picked off a Matt Baker pass at the start of the second quarter, but on the Tar Heels' next drive, a defensive holding penalty vs. Bell set up a UNC 43-yard field goal With two minutes left in the first half, Bell almost intercepted another Baker pass, but receiver Mike Mason interfered on the play and UNC was penalized 15 yards Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Jarwarski Pollock-One catch for 7 yards.
Michigan Only had a pair of tackles, but both came in run support Stopped Max Martin on a 29-yard run midway through the first quarter and on a third-&-1 play with 1:11 left in the first half, Bell again tackled Martin on a 17-yard rushing attempt Talking about the Badgers' victory after the game, Bell said, "I always wanted to beat Michigan. When you come into the Big Ten you always want to be the teams like Michigan and Ohio State. After what happened a couple years ago it's really great to get this win." Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Steve Breaston-One catch for a 1-yard loss.
Indiana Registered six tackles (5 solos) with 1.5 stops for losses of 6 yards, but the defense gave up 244 yards and three touchdowns passing Had a difficult time covering receiver James Hardy, who snatched scoring passes of 83 yards on a toss from QB Blake Powers in the first quarter and for 7 yards in the fourth quarter, a touchdown that was set up when Bell was penalized ten yards for defensive holding earlier on that drive Hardy also caught a 12-yarder in the second quarter and Indiana then capitalized with a 46-yard touchdown pass from Powers to James Bailey Forced the Hoosiers to punt in the third quarter when Bell tackled Hardy after an 11-yard catch on a third-&-12 pass from Powers Asked if he was fatigued after the game, Bell said, "I wouldn't say I'm fatigued, maybe physically more than mentally. The fifth game is always a hump game, but I think after this game we'll be fresh and crisp. It shows whoever is watching and paying attention that if we don't play well we're still a good team. To be honest, I don't think we'll play like that again. From that game I think we learned that we don't want to come out like that again." Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR James Hardy-Seven catches for 157 yards and two touchdowns.
Northwestern Made seven tackles (4 solos) and batted away a pass Two of his hits came on third-down plays Forced the Wildcats to punt midway through the first quarter when Bell batted away a third-&-4 pass by QB Bell Basanez that was intended for Kim Thompson Chased down Mark Philmore after the receiver gained 33 yards on a pass from Basanez in the second quarter At the start of the third quarter, Bell brought down Tyrell Sutton after the tailback picked up 45 yards on a rushing attempt off left end Also stopped Ross Lane on a 27-yard third quarter pass from Basanez Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Jonathan Fields-Eight catches for 48 yards.
Minnesota Added two tackles, including one that stopped Logan Payne on a third-&-6 pass from QB Tony Mortensen that netted only 5 yards Assisted linebacker Mark Zalewski in taking down tailback Laurence Maroney for a 2-yard loss on a third-&-3 rushing attempt in the second quarter Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Logan Payne-Two catches for 24 yards.
Purdue Produced four solo tackles, including one on a third-down play Recovered a fumble that was caused when strong safety Joe Stellmacher stripped the ball from QB Curtis Painter on a 1-yard draw early in the first quarter Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Kyle Ingraham-Two catches for 12 yards.
Illinois Had a pair of tackles and two pass deflections, including one on a third-&-20 play in the first quarter when he batted the ball away from Kyle Hudson on a toss by QB Chris Pazan Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Kyle Hudson-Ten catches for 114 yards and a touchdown (note-Bell was not on the field when Hudson caught a 32-yard scoring pass from QB Tim Brasic with 4:07 left in the game).
All-Big Ten Conference honorable mention Started all year at right cornerback, ranking third on the team with a career-high 64 tackles (51 solos), including 1.5 stops for losses of 3 yards Tied for team lead with three interceptions for nine yards in returns and passes defended with thirteen 24 of his tackles came in run support Posted sixteen third-down stops and had four tackles on special teams.
|2004 Game Analysis|
Central Florida Began the year with three solo tackles and two pass break-ups Both of his deflections came when he knocked passes away from receiver Luther Huggins Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Luther Huggins-Five catches for 85 yards.
Nevada-Las Vegas His onlty tackle came on a third-&14 pass thrown by QB Kurt Nantkes that was caught by Earvin Johnson for a 2-yard gain in the first quarter Head coach Barry Alvarez commented on Bell's performance after the game, saying, "They (defense) are playing well, they know what they are doing. It all starts up front and I think our secondary played well today. Earvin Johnson is a good receiver and we matched up man-to-man on him a few times. I thought Bell Bell played much better today. We're getting good secondary play and really especially good defensive line play." Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Earvin Johnson-Four catches for 27 yards.
Arizona Registered six solo tackles and did not allow a reception, as the Badgers allowed only 103 yards passing Was penalized for pass interference on a third-&-4 second quarter pass thrown by QB Kris Heavner that was intended for Ricky Williams, setting up Heavner's 44-yard touchdown strike to Mike Jefferson with 0:32 left before halftime Made up for that miscue when he stopped Gilbert Harris for no gain after the fullback caught a third quarter pass from Heavner Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Syndric Steptoe-No catches.
Penn State Followed with a 14-yard interception return, 1.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage and six tackles (3 solos) Bell's interception in the first quarter was the first of his four-year career, coming on the game's second play whjen he picked off a toss by QB Zack Mills Tackled Tony Hunt after the tailback ran for 13 yards late in the first quarter and stopped Hunt for a 2-yard loss on a second quarter pass from QB Chris Ganter Brought down Hunt again behind the line of scrimmage on a third-&-3 run with 2:08 left before halftime Talking about his first career interception, Bell said, "It's always nice when you get an interception, especially when it's your first one in college. I mean, just the whole experience against Penn state, a good solid opponent. So it ups my confidence and hopefully shows my coaches and the rest of my teammates how I can play." Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Terrell Golden-No catches.
Illinois Posted three solo tackles, including one on special teams and batted away two passes In the third quarter, Bell took down Pierre Thomas on a 33-yard kickoff return, but Thomas was penalized 15 yards for a personal foul after throwing the ball at Bell after the play Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Franklin Payne-Two catches for 18 yards.
Ohio State Caused a fumble and was in on six tackles (5 solos) with another stop on special teams Dropped Santonio Holmes after the receiver returned the game's opening kickoff for a 23-yard gain Assisted free safety Jim Leonhard in tackling QB Justin Zwick on a third-&-5 draw play that netted 22 yards in the first quarter, but OSU was penalized when Holmes was flagged for a chop block at Bell's knees. Five plays later on that drive, Bell caused a fumble when he stripped the ball from slotback Roy Hall after he caught a pass from Zwick for no gain and defensive tackle Antaaj Hawthorne recovered the ball Killed a third quarter drive by taking down Antonio Pittman after the tailback gained 5 yards on a third-&-7 run midway through the second quarter With 3:24 left before halftime, defensive tackle Jason Jefferson caused a fumble when he tackled Santonio Holmes on a 4-yard pass thrown by Zwick. Holmes recovered the ball, but Bell then made the tackle to end the play after the receiver added 15 more yards on the recovery Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Santonio Holmes-Three catches for 34 yards.
Purdue Made six tackles (5 solos), including one on a third-down stop and another on special teams Saved a potential touchdown when he raced to bring down Jerome Brooks after the kickoff returner gained 67 yards on Taylor Mehlhaff's kickoff with 1:42 left before halftime Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Kyle Ingraham-Five catches for 61 yards.
Northwestern Posted another six tackles (five solos) for the third-straight game and also deflected a pass Dragged down Noah Herron after the tailback ran for a 25-yard gain in the first quarter and killed a second quarter drive when he deflected a third-&-14 pass thrown by QB Bell Basanez that was intended for Shaun Herbert Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Shaun Herbert-Four catches for 54 yards.
Minnesota Followed with seven tackles (4 solos) and a stop on special teams Three of his hits came on third-down plays Knocked away a second quarter third-&-2 pass thrown by QB Bryan Cupito that was intended for Ernie Wheelwright Stopped Gary Russell on a 25-yard kickoff return at the start of the third quarter and then deflected a Cupito pass thrown to Wheelwright with 1:24 left in that period Again knocked the ball away from Wheelwright on a fourth quarter third-&-13 pass from Cupito Was beaten in the second quarter by that due, as Wheelwright hauled in Cupito's 10-yard touchdown toss with 4:07 left before halftime Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Ernie Wheelwright-Six catches for 83 yards and a touchdown.
Michigan State Picked off a pass, deflected another and totaled seven tackles (6 solos) as the Badgers limited the Spartans to 121 yards passing On MSU's first drive of the game, Bell knocked the ball away from Matt Trannon on a toss from QB Damon Dowdell and on the next play, Bell ran down field to tackle Dowdell on a 61-yard draw play On the Spartans' next first quarter drive, Bell took down halfback Jason Teague on a 42-yard run He closed out the first quarter by intercepting a pass thrown by Dowdell for a 5-yard loss, setting up a 9-yard touchdown run by Wisconsin fullback Matt Bernstein Stopped tight end on a 26-yard pass thrown by Dowdell in the second quarter At the start of the third quarter, Bell again made a key tackle in run support when he brought down halfback Jehuu Cavlcrick on a 31-yard scamper Later in the third quarter, Matt Trannon got a step on Bell to snare a 31-yard touchdown pass from QB Drew Stanton Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Matt Trannon-Three catches for 46 yards and a touchdown.
Iowa Delivered four tackles (2 solos), including one on a third-down stop and intercepted a Drew Tate pass in the third quarter However, he was a step behind on Tate's touch-down tosses of 6 yards to Clint Solomon in the first quarter and 51 yards to Solomon with 1:00 left before halftime Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Clint Solomon-Six catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
Georgia (Outback Bowl) Earned Badger Player of the Game honors as he registered nine tackles (8 solos) with two stops on third-down plays and deflected a pair of passes Batted away a David Greene third-&-11 pass that was intended for Fred Gibson late in the first quarter Came up to the line of scrimmage to bring down halfback Thomas Brown for no gain on a second quarter rushing attempt, but was then beaten for a 19-yard touch-down on Greene's throw to Gibson Made up for that miscue in the fourth quarter when he took down Sean Bailey after a 3-yard gain on a third-&-9 run and later assisted line-backer Tony Paciotti in tackling Thomas Brown for no gain on a second-&-5 run with 4:13 left to play, killing that drive when Bell again stopped Brown on a third-&-5 play that netted only 4 yards Main Pass Coverage Assignment -- WR Fred Gibson-Four catches for 42 yards and a touchdown.
Moved into the starting lineup at right cornerback, but was lost for the season in the team's third game vs. Nevada-Las Vegas, undergoing arthroscopic left shoulder surgery after having right shoulder arthroscopic surgery in the spring Finished with 12 tackles (9 solos).
|2003 Game Analysis|
West Virginia Opened the season with seven tackles (6 solos).
Akron Followed with a three-tackle performance.
Nevada-Las Vegas Made two tackles before leaving the game.
Played in thirteen games, starting at free safety vs. Nevada-Las Vegas and Ohio State Was suspended for the Alamo Bowl clash vs. Colorado (see Off-Field Issues below) Had 33 tackles (19 solos) with two pass deflections Caused and recovered a fumble Also saw action on offense in the season opener vs. Fresno State.
|2002 Game Analysis|
Fresno State Had a pair of solo tackles and recovered a third quarter fumble when cornerback Scott Starks stripped the ball from Marque Davis after a 37-yard catch Had a pair of incomplete passes thrown to him by QB Brooks Bollinger in the third quarter.
Nevada-Las Vegas In his first career start, Bell responded with seven tackles (5 solos) and two pass deflections Caused a fumble when he tackled QB Jason Thomas on a 2-yard draw play and defensive tackle Jason Jefferson recovered the ball in the second quarter, setting up a 37-yard touchdown pass from Brooks Bollinger to Jonathan Orr.
West Virginia, Northern Illinois and Penn State Posted three tackles in each game.
Ohio State Earned another start, delivered a career-high ten tackles (4 solos).
Played in eleven games, seeing action on special teams Had an assisted tackle vs. Oregon.
2000: Only played in two games during his high school senior football season due to a right knee anterior cruciate ligament strain.
2003: Underwent arthroscopic right shoulder surgery during spring drills (4/10) and then injured his left shoulder vs. Nevada-Las Vegas, undergoing an arthroscopic procedure (9/17) that forced him to sit out the team's final ten games.
2004: Limited during spring camp due to a right knee anterior cruciate ligament strain (2/23).
Campus: 4.56 in the 40-yard dash 320-pound bench press 32.5-inch vertical jump 29 -inch arm length 9 -inch hands Right-handed 10/29 Wonderlic score.
Was involved in two off-field incidents during his Wisconsin career. Bell's first offense occurred in April of 2002, when Bell and teammate Jeff Lang's brother started fighting and a bouncer stepped in to break up the fight. Bell ripped Lang's shirt and Lang broke a beer bottle over Bell's head, cutting the bouncer's face with the bottle. Bell and Lang split the bouncer's $1,100 medical bill for the nine stitches in his face and Bell joined a First Offenders program.
In the second altercation on December 21, 2002, Bell spit on a fellow cab passenger he thought was laughing at him outside the Regent Apartments during the morning hours and proceeded to punch the passenger in the face and kick him while he was on the ground. He was charged with battery, disorderly conduct and bail-jumping and had to appear in Dane County Circuit Court. Coach Barry Alvarez suspended Bell for the incident, preventing him from playing vs. Colorado in the Alamo Bowl.
In May 2003, a Dane County judge sentenced Bell to probation for two fights he participated in. He was sentenced serve two consecutive probation terms of 23 months each for the incidents. Bell had been referred to the district attorney's First Offenders Program after pleading no contest in July to disorderly conduct for the April 20 bar fight and because of the December charges, Bell faced up to nine months in jail. Bell was ordered to stay away from the "State Street Brats" club, the site of one of the fights.
In addition to the probation term, Dane County Circuit Judge Angela Bartell also ordered Bell to complete 100 hours of community service and write an apology to the victim of the second incident. Bell pleaded no contest in both incidents and will pay $150 in court costs.
Attended Warrenville (Wheaton, Ill.) High School, playing football for coach John Thorne
Reebok/ESPN preseason All-American selection as a senior, but a knee injury would sideline him after only two games Member of Tom Lemming's Prep Football Report "Super Team" and a top-60 prospect nationally by Student Sports magazine As a senior, Bell recorded 20 tackles, two interceptions and four pass deflections Made 80 tackles, with four interceptions and five touchdowns on special teams on the way to earning All-State honors as a junior In addition to excelling in football, Bell also lettered in track, clocking personal bests of 10.6 seconds in the 100-meter and a 21.6 second in the 200-meter dashes.
Sociology major Son of Carolyn and Stephen Bell Father is a real estate lawyer
Born 4/15/82 Resides in Wheaton, Illinois.