Originally Published: Feb 3, 2010 6:48 PM CDT
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer
NORMAN, Oklahoma – Of the 28 recruits who signed to play for Oklahoma on National Signing Day, one of the most publicized has been quarterback Blake Bell.
Bell attended Bishop Carroll High School in Wichita, Kansas, and Rivals.com rated him the No. 6 quarterback recruit in the nation.
“He’s an excellent pocket quarterback, which is a staple of what we do,” OU head coach Bob Stoops said. “But he also is more athletic maybe than any quarterback we’ve signed as far as being able to pull the ball down and run.”
Bell has ideal size to run a pro-style offense, standing at 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds. Rivals.com compared his size and body type to current NFL quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has proven to be difficult to tackle.
“[Bell] is a guy that I believe is going to be big enough – being 6’6,” he’s 220 now and could be 250 easy – that you don’t mind running six or seven times a game,” Stoops said. “We’re not going to ever run him much; we don’t like our quarterbacks to get beat up.”
Stoops said he likes Bell’s arm strength, but Rivals.com listed that as one of his biggest weaknesses. Rivals said his arm strength is average for his size, but that it should improve as he develops physically. Stoops said he also likes Bell’s intangibles.
“We love the arm, and you love that he’s a winner,” Stoops said. “He brought his team to the state championship game ? The guy had nine touchdowns in one game. I forget five and four, which was pass and which was run, but accounting for nine is pretty special.”
Several recruiting sources have said Bell’s ability is still raw and that he will need to be groomed in order to become a legitimate college starter.
“We like the athlete that he is,” Stoops said. “We know he has great upside, but we like what we’ve seen already though. We like the way he throws the football. I’d like to see what those experts had to say about Sam Bradford back a few years ago on how raw he might have been.”
Stoops added that when recruiting a quarterback, it is important to form a personal relationship with him. Stoops likes to get a feel for what kind of leader a quarterback can become.
“I think really getting to know him helps you with intangibles,” Stoops said. “Getting him in camp helps you get a feel for him, but I think with scouting quarterbacks there’s a lot to see. They have the ball in their hand virtually every play unless they’re in the Wildcat [formation], so you get to see a lot of what they’re able to do.”
Bell only played two full years as a varsity quarterback in high school, but he was also an active member of Bishop Carroll’s basketball team. Stoops said that one of the major factors in recruiting players is how skilled they are in multiple sports.
“I love to watch how competitive they are in other sports,” Stoops said. “When we recruit an athlete, my first question that comes out of my mouth to a coach is, ‘What else does he play?’ And I want to watch it because you get to see how a guy competes and how athletic he is, especially when it’s on the basketball court.”
With the return of Landry Jones and the availability of redshirt freshman Drew Allen, it has been widely speculated that Stoops would redshirt Blake Bell during his freshman season. However, Stoops said that is not the case.
“We’re going to get him here and get him ready to play,” Stoops said. “He’ll compete from the first day he’s here, and getting him snaps and getting him comfortable and seeing what he’s able to do.”
The quarterback competition this season is shaping up to be a three-man race between Blake Bell, Drew Allen and Landry Jones going into spring practice.
The last time the Sooners entered a season with a question mark at quarterback, they held another three-man competition during the spring between Keith Nichol, Joey Halzle and Sam Bradford. That competition eventually resulted in a Heisman Trophy and a trip to the national championship.
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