Bell tolls for Ohio State

ROSSVILLE, Ga. — The Bell tolls for Ohio State.

Vonn Bell, a five-star safety prospect from Chattanooga-area Ridgeland High School, committed to Ohio State on Wednesday morning before a live national television audience and in front of his fellow students and several members of the Rossville community during an open-door ceremony.

The 5-foot-11.5, 180-pound Bell, who’s the No. 26 prospect in the country in the industry-generated 247Composite, was widely regarded as one of the Class of 2013’s top talents and one of the highest-ranked players to delay his decision until National Signing Day. He had dozens of offers but ultimately chose the Buckeyes over the Tennessee Vols.

Ridgeland coach Mark Mariakis said Bell was genuinely torn between his finalists, and the Chattanooga native officially visited three schools on three consecutive weeks before making his decision. He opened the campaign with a trip to Ohio State on the weekend of Jan. 11, and he visited Alabama and then Tennessee the following two weekends.

Bell was a two-way star in high school but will play safety or cornerback at the college level. He collected 131 tackles, five tackles for loss and three interceptions as a senior, and he added more than 1,000 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on offense.

After starting his career at Chattanooga Central High School, Bell transferred to Ridgeland — where his mother works — and exploded onto the scene as a junior, collecting 119 tackles, forcing three fumbles, recovering five fumbles and returning three of those fumbles for touchdowns.

The Buckeyes were ranked No. 2 in the 247Composite heading into Wednesday.

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