SOUTH CAROLINA ELITE FOOTBALL

NSD not cheerful for all, Bell does not sign with FSU

By EFN Staff
Writer
Published: 02/05/2015

National Signing Day has become an event nationwide, a time to celebrate the accomplishments of young men preparing to take the next step in their academic and athletic careers. For Lowndes star linebacker Brian Bell, NSD will be a day he will never forget but not for all the right reasons.

The week before NSD Florida State pulled their scholarship offer to the Valdosta, Georgia native after he was named in a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit connected to the death of a 17-year-old classmate found dead rolled up in a gym mat.

The alleged victim, Kendrick Johnson, was found dead in January 2013 with police ruling his death was an accident stemming from positional asphyxia. Johnson’s parents contend Bell, his brother, and three other students were the cause of the accident. Police did not press criminal charges against the five Lowndes’ students but Johnson’s parents are seeking answers, and money, filing a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit in January.

Bell, a 3-star linebacker, was never listed as a suspect during the criminal investigation but his association with the event was enough for FSU athletic director Stan Wilcox to demand Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher to withdraw the scholarship offer.

Lowndes head coach Randy McPherson released a statement to a local Georgia newspaper, the Valdosta Daily Times, informing, “Last Wednesday morning Coach Jimbo Fisher told me that the FSU Athletic Director and the President would not let him give Brian Bell a scholarship. We went to meet with the FSU President the next day. The next morning, Jimbo called me and told me that they still were not going to let him give Brian a scholarship.”

What Bell’s role was in the death of Kendrick Jackson is still unknown. What is known is one young man is dead and another young man may have had an opportunity to receive a college education taken away.

Bell, 6’2”, 215 pounds, also had offers from Clemson, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Cincinnati, and UAB.

What happens to Bell’s potential collegiate football career is unknown at this point. Time will tell what new information is revealed, if any, during Jackson’s family civil suit and then if a second chance might be waiting for Bell in the near future.

Photo credit: tomahawknation.com; Brian Bell.