A Game Changer gets Lost in the Recruiting Shuffle

By EFN Staff
Published: 02/13/2015

A heads up to all future high school football recruiting classes, being academically qualified, having outstanding measurables, and amazing on the field talent does not always translate into a full ride scholarship – at any level. Case in point, former Costa Mesa High School wide receiver/linebacker Quinton Bell.

Bell started his career at Cal Poly Long Beach, one of the top high schools in the nation for putting gridiron talent onto the field at the next level. He finished his career at Costa Mesa High School playing both sides of the ball but an early senior season hip flexor injury limited him to the final six games of the season, or how it would turn out, not enough time to get the Division-I scholarship desired.

The Class of 2014 product measures, 6’4”, 215 pounds, and runs a 4.39 forty-yard dash. Even more importantly, he was academically qualified.

Interest was shown by programs like Arizona State, Arizona, San Jose State, San Diego State, Utah, Washington State, and Nevada-Reno but in the end the speed burner had to opt for the Junior College route bypassing a scholarship offer from Texas Southern.

In an Elite Sports Network exclusive interview Quinton Bell sat down to talk about his senior season, the recruiting game, and how his track abilities might get him onto the college gridiron in the near future.

Quinton, you spent your junior and senior seasons at Costa Mesa High School graduating in 2014, how did your high school career wrap up?

“I had really good games, especially my junior year. We went undefeated my senior year in league but then lost in the first round of the playoffs.”

How did you get hurt during your senior season?

“I was hurt in a scrimmage game before the season started. I had a hip flexor injury but came back for our first league game. I ended up playing in six games that year.”

What are your strengths on the field at wide receiver?

“I’m a deep threat and a red zone threat. I like to go up for the ball and I’m not afraid to go across the middle. I’ll run any route – fades, posts, slants, wide receiver screens. My route running has gotten better. I feel like I am a precision route runner. Another strength of mine are my hands. I think I only had one or two drops my senior season.

“I’m good after the catch too. I averaged 20 yards per catch my senior season. Our quarterback did not have the biggest arm so we ran a lot of shorter routes.”

So you had to take a short pass and make something of it?

“Pretty much.”

You’re academically qualified and you’ve got speed to burn, what ended up happening towards the end of your senior season.

“I had a great track season (took third in state 100m running a 10.50; 21.30 in the 200m). USC wanted me for their track team but did not have enough scholarships. I was hoping a grayshirt offer would come in for football from some school. I could have gone to Texas Southern but I wanted to see if I could get a Power 5 Conference scholarship. USC put me at Riverside Community College for track.”

When college coaches were talking to you about your game on the field, what did they tell you they liked about your game?

“They all liked my size and speed. I got a lot of compliments on my hands too.”

Did you play football in the fall semester for Riverside C.C.?

“No. I went part-time in the fall and started going full-time this spring so I could run track.”

For football you’ll have four years to play four but for track just three after this semester?

“Yes. I didn’t want to burn a year of eligibility on the field by playing in the fall.”

Where does your collegiate career go from here?

“I don’t know. USC is my No. 1 choice. I’m getting a lot of calls from other schools. It’s still really early in the process. If I don’t get a football scholarship but get a track scholarship my hope is to walk-on to that school’s football team once I’m on campus.”

When scholarships start rolling in for you this spring, what will influence your decision on where you may end up for the rest of your collegiate career?

“I’d like to be able to run track and play football. I’m looking for a D-I scholarship from a Pac-12 or SEC school if possible. I’m open to the whole recruiting process right now.”

Is there a NFL player you model your game after?

“In the NFL it’s Dez Bryant (Dallas Cowboys WR). I feel that as a receiver we play the game the same way. He plays so aggressive, he beats up the DBs. He’s everything you want in a receiver. He runs crisp routes, he’s big, he’s fast, and he can catch the ball.”

Who has made the biggest impact on your football career?

“My dad (Aaron Bell) and my uncle (Nick Bell) have had the biggest impact on me. They really have helped me a lot. My uncle played for the Raiders (1991-1993) for three years, he was Big Ten All-Conference selection for the Iowa Hawkeyes at running back (1990 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year). My dad was on the practice squad for the Raiders for a little while before he joined the military.

“Both of them have been through the grind. They have faith in me. They see the potential I have and see them in me. They have motivated me and helped push me to achieve my potential by getting better everyday.”

What is your favorite part of playing football?

“The team aspect of playing the game is my favorite part. When you’re going through the offseason workouts and hell week you have to rely on each other to make it through. When you’re on the field you’re one big family. At receiver you have to rely on your offensive line and quarterback to do their parts, and they have to rely on you to do your job when the ball is in the air. When the entire team plays a great game, that’s fun and rewarding.”

Who knows what the future holds for Quinton Bell? There’s no denying he has the talent and ability to be a game changer for any college football, or track, program in the nation. Much like a lot of gifted athletes throughout the U.S., all he needs is that opportunity.

Who will be the lucky program to take that chance?

Photo credit: (glg); Quinton (No. 3) at CIF State preliminaries.
Photo credit: Photo credit:; No. 8 Quinton Bell.