Late last month, I travelled to Monteverde (Fla.) to watch Abdul Bello play in his spring game. They were taking on Orlando (Fla.) The First Academy.
For those that don't know Bello, you soon will. He's a transfer student from Nigeria now attending Monteverde Academy. This is a very prestigious boarding school outside of Orlando. They are the current national champions in both soccer and basketball. Anyway, the football program here is in its infancy with coach Brian Treweek at the helm.
Treweek's prized import Bello is quickly becoming a prized recruit in the 2015 class. Bello plays right tackle. He stands almost 6-foot-6, 300-pounds. Prior to this Thursday night he played a grand total of six games.
Bello came out for football after he arrived here in the States and played the second half of the 2013 season. He had never played the game of football before but he did box in Africa and play some other sports.
This is one of the most intriguing prospects I have ever seen in 23 years of evaluating talent. This kid is enormous. I mean he has great size and great length. Bello gets off the ball very well. He's athletic, moves his feet and showcases very good lateral movement and agility. Bello also has great hands and a powerful punch at the point of attack. There were times during this game when he looked like he just stunned defenders with his giant paws.
And I say all of this knowing that Bello has no idea what he's doing out there. I saw him at the Orlando Nike Football Training Camp earlier this spring. He did well leading up to the one on one session and then got beat by more experienced players.
This by no means should be construed as an indictment toward Bello and his play. What folks need to remember and realize is that this kid is a blank slate. He has no bad habits because he hasn't had enough time to develop any habit(s) yet.
Think about this – he has played 28 quarters of football. He's still learning the game. During one day of spring practice last month he showed up on the field with his shoulder pads on backwards.
This kid has all the making of something special down the line. He just needs to learn the game and to learn how to play the position. He needs reps and lots of them.
Amazingly, Florida State, Florida, Alabama, Auburn, USC, Georgia, Miami, Tennessee, LSU and a handful of others have all offered Bello. Mark my words; before it's all said and done he will be able to name his school.
Right now the nation's top prospect is an offensive tackle from nearby Apopka (Fla.) in Martez Ivey. For those that follow my work, you know how I feel about Ivey. I love the kid and his upside. But Bello may have more.
Did you know that Ivey is two years older than Bello? That's right, Bello is 16 and won't turn 17 until October. That's truly startling to think about if you have seen these two in person. Ivey is a svelte 270-275-pounds and certainly looks like the younger of the two tackles.
Bello will likely camp at Florida and Florida State over the next few weeks. Depending on transportation, he could make a few other college camps like Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, LSU and Tennessee.
Below are some of the highlights from his spring game that I shot. FSU, Florida, Clemson, and Auburn were just some of the teams in attendance.
I wouldn't expect an early decision and commitment from Bello. He knows just as much about the college programs as he does the game itself. This will be a huge story for another day.