First-year Penn State football coach Bill O’Brien is hoping that no news is good news when it comes to Brandon Bell.
The Oakcrest High School senior-to-be is part of O’Brien’s 2013 recruiting class.
Bell, a two-time Press first-team all-star, verbally committed to play for the Nittany Lions in June, but the sanctions handed down to the program last month following the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal have caused a number of recruits to rethink their decisions.
“I don’t want to rush into anything,” Bell said. “I am still committed there, so my heart is still there, but we are taking it day-by-day.”
Bell plans on speaking with his family before making any decisions. He said he plans on visiting the school and speaking with O’Brien on Tuesday.
Bell has started at linebacker for Oakcrest since his sophomore year. He made 117 tackles, 22 for a loss, and had six sacks to go along with three forced fumbles last season.
Bell said his phone rang off the hook in the days following the NCAA’s July 23 news conference that spelled out the sanctions for Penn State. Bell said he got phone calls from not only college coaches and recruiters but also friends, family and members of the media wanting to know his plans.
“It’s been more hectic than the whole recruiting process, I can tell you that,” Bell said. “That Monday (following the news conference) my phone was blowing up more than it ever did. It was a stressful day.”
Oakcrest head coach Chuck Smith is close with Bell and his family and has been contacted by a number of schools.
Smith said his phone rang constantly in the days following the news conference.
“Every day I am still getting phone calls or texts from college coaches about Brandon Bell,” Smith said. “And I tell them all the same thing — when he makes his decision, I’ll let everybody know.
“It’s a big decision after what happened and how it affects him. Kids dream of going to college. With what happened there, the sanctions that were imposed have a direct impact on his collegiate career. He’s not in a rush to make a decision.”
Smith said Temple, Rutgers, West Virginia, Syracuse and Northwestern are among the nine schools still with offers on the table.
Eight players currently on Penn State’s roster have announced they will leave the school as of Thursday afternoon since July 23 when the NCAA imposed its sanctions.
St. Augustine Prep graduate Austin Johnson, a freshman defensive lineman, announced on his Facebook page last week that we planned on staying. Reached by phone Thursday, Johnson said the team was told not to speak with members of the media until further notice.
Sophomore linebacker Glenn Carson, a Southern Regional graduate, also plans on staying according to his father in a story that ran in The Press last week.
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