April 3, 2008

Bell reminds opposing coach of NFL starter

Michigan's most recent commitment, Youngstown (Ohio) Liberty athlete Isaiah Bell may be a bit of an unknown presently, but one opposing coach that has had to prepare for him each of the past two seasons compares him to an NFL starter …

"I've coached against a lot of great players in our league who have gone on to college careers and Isaiah reminds me a lot of Anthony Smith, who went to Syracuse and now starts for the Steelers," Brookfield High School coach Randy Clark said. "He has great size, speed and makes a lot of plays for them."

Bell, 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, played safety for the Leopards last season, while also returning punts and kicks. Bell did not play offense for Liberty last season but might find a role on that side of the ball this year.

"I'd be really surprised if they don't utilize him offensively this year because as a punt or kick returner, he's electric with the ball in his hands - you can't even kick it to him or he'll take it to the house," Clark said. "Isaiah is just a phenomenal athlete. He's someone that is always making plays all over the field whether it's a pass downfield, a screen, a toss sweep or a run up the gut. You'd think there were two or three of him out there."

A dominating physical player, Bell must be accounted for at all times according to Clark.

"He fills the lane extremely quickly," he said. "Most of the teams we play, you don't have to game plan for blocking the safety because if you're that far into the defensive backfield, it's a big gain. But with Isaiah, he attacks the line of scrimmage so well that if you're not going to get someone on him, he'll make the play every time."

Bell's teammate, tailback Fitzgerald Toussaint, didn't have great success against the Warriors, but Clark admits he's a bit nervous every time the back touches the ball.

"In stature, he's a bit small, but he runs like a deer," Clark said. "If you don't lay a hand on him in the first five yards he's gone. He's the fastest kid I've ever seen on the football field and he has the ability to make you miss too. We got a bit lucky because he was injured against us, but he's a tremendous running back - in a class of his own in terms of speed."

According to Toussaint's head coach, the blazer clocked an electronically-timed 10.54 100-meter dash this year, which would presently be the fourth-fastest time nationally in 2008.

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