Thanks to having Jeremy Pruitt as Tennessee’s head coach, the Vols have more connections in the state of Alabama than ever before. Pruitt’s time at Hoover High School in Alabama and his many years on the Crimson Tide’s staff as well as being from Alabama gives him a ton of natural connections, and he’s tried to use those to his benefit at UT. So far, the Vols haven’t had a great deal of success recruiting the state, but that could be changing in the 2021 cycle.
Trinity Bell is a three-star athlete who plays for Albertville High School in Albertville, Alabama. This weekend marked the third time he’s visited Tennessee, and the Vols were the first program to extend a scholarship offer to him in football.
Bell, who is rated as the No. 385 overall prospect and No. 33 athlete in the 2021 class per 247Sports, holds an offer from the in-state Auburn Tigers and has generated interest from Alabama as well. According to the dynamic athlete, both schools didn’t want him to come back to Knoxville this weekend.
“They (Alabama and Auburn) didn’t really want me to come to Tennessee,” Bell told Austin Price of VolQuest after his visit this weekend.
At 6-foot-7, 250 pounds, Bell is a large-bodied athlete who didn’t play football for his first two years of high school. After playing football a lot growing up, he elected to focus on basketball his first couple years of high school, and he excelled there. As a sophomore, he averaged 15.1 points and 9.8 rebounds while totaling 13 double-doubles. He was voted to the Class 6A Third Team All-State team.
But heading into this junior year of high school, he decided to give football a try again. And UT was the first school to offer him, giving him an offer back in February of 2019. Illinois followed in August, and Nebraska, Auburn, Indiana, and Purdue all gave him offers in September.
After a strong junior year in 2019, Florida and Southern Miss have also offered him in 2020.
On the football field, Bell played a little bit of everything for Albertville. He lined up as a tight end and wide receiver on offense and played as a defensive end and outside linebacker on defense. In college, he wants to play on offense, but he’s fine with playing wherever he’s asked.
“Personally I want to play tight end in college, but if I have to play D-end, then I’ll play defense,” Bell told Price. “It started off as a defensive thing, but now everyone wants me at tight end.”
Bell’s size and strength make him an ideal weapon on offense, and he’s a match-up nightmare for anyone in high school. Even in college, he’ll be tough to guard and defend. On defense, he has some solid skills and a good foundation to build upon, but it looks like he’s more polished and has a bit of a higher ceiling on offense.
On offense, Bell caught 26 passes for 415 yards and six touchdowns as a junior. Defensively, he totaled 28 tackles, two sacks, six tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, and a defensive touchdown. He also has a reported 6-foot-9 wingspan and a 31-inch vertical leap.
Bell plans on coming back to Tennessee’s campus for a fourth time later this year to see UT practice during spring practices.
The Vols currently have six players committed to them in the 2021 recruiting cycle. Two of those six commits are from Alabama. Four-star wide receiver Jordan Mosley plays for McGill Toolen in Mobile, and three-star cornerback Jay Jones plays for Demopolis High School in Demopolis. Since Jeremy Pruitt has taken over as UT’s head coach, the Vols have signed just two prospects from the state of Alabama, and both of them have come from the 2020 class. Three-star defensive tackle Reginald Perry and three-star guard James Robinson both signed with the Vols back in December. Tennessee also landed transfer center Brandon Kennedy from the Crimson Tide prior to the 2018 season.