Ridgeland Football Coaches Celebrate Vonn Bell’s National Title at Ohio State

Former Ridgeland safety Vonn Bell celebrated a national title as a member of the Ohio State Buckeyes on Monday.
And celebrating with him in spirit were two of his former high school coaches at Ridgeland in Mark Mariakis and Craig Pritchett.
   When Vonn Bell arrived to for his junior year at Ridgeland, it didn’t take long for him to impress coaches with his physical abilities.
Said defensive assistant Craig Pritchett,"I coached linebackers and a lot of times he was beating linebackers to the line of scrimmage because he was reading and filling the ally so fast."
Said former Panthers head coach Mark Mariakis,"After his first ball game he scooped and scored for a touchdown, and he had an interception. I think he had 10 tackles, but when we graded him, he graded a 40 out of 100. He was just shocked. At that point in time he became a sponge about just the little nuances on how to be a football player."
    Once Bell picked up those nuances, it wasn’t long before big-time coaches started recruiting Bell, including Alabama’s Nick Saban.
Said Mariakis,"But while he was here the last word I can remember him telling Vonn was if you come with us or not, we will see each other in the championship game.  You will either be on our sidelines or across the way. And at that time, it was them or Ohio State, so he was talking about Ohio State and you know the prophecy came true just about in the semi final game."
    Mariakis says Bell chose the Buckeyes because of his relationship with the coaches, including Urban Meyer.
Pritchett on the other hand was still worried about Bell competing in college.
"I always kind of wondered if he was big enough, and then he came back after a year at Ohio State, and he packed on 20 pounds of solid muscle, and you he is just rocked up now."
Bell will soon be packing on something else.
A national championship ring.
Said Mariakis,"Everybody is proud for him. I am, the school, the community because you have a relationship with him."
Categories: Sports, Sports – Local Sports News

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