More details emerged Monday on what went down between Florida and former cornerback commit Tre’ Bell (Jersey City, N.J./St. Peter’s Prep).
According to Derek Tyson of GatorNationESPN.com and several sources that gave the Sun the same account, there was more to the split than Bell not working out at Friday Night Lights.
Going into FNL, every member of Florida’s 2013 class had either camped at UF in the past or agreed to when their pledge was accepted by coach Will Muschamp. Four commits that hadn’t — receiver Marqui Hawkins, center Cameron Dillard, offensive guard Josh Outlaw and linebacker Daniel McMillan — all participated in the event. The rest of the commits in attendance were allowed to be spectators because of their previous workouts.
Then there was Bell.
Sources said his April 7 commitment was contingent on him camping this summer. The coaches couldn’t see him during their evaluation period because his school doesn’t practice in the spring. After missing Florida’s camps in June, Bell promised to come down for FNL and participate.
But when he arrived, Bell said his coach told him he couldn’t do any workouts after July 15 so he could be ready for football season. However, Bell was in Lake Buena Vista competing in Gridiron Kings the following day.
Sources told the Sun that when Florida contacted St. Peter’s Prep coach Rich Hansen to get an explanation, he said Bell wasn’t given those orders.
Hansen, who did not respond to the initial request for an interview, responded to the Sun on Tuesday and said his phone conversation with UF defensive coordinator Dan Quinn went differently.
“Danny called me and he said, ‘Rich I got to ask you this question, do you guys have a rule about participating?’ I told him we do,” Hansen said. “The rule is after July 15, you don’t work out for anybody. If you sprain an ankle it will be an issue for our team. It’s been my rule for 25 years. You can look it up and ask any player that’s ever played for me and they’ll give you the same rule. Now what happened after that is totally Tre’s fault, but that was my conversation with Danny.”
East Orange High School football coach Marion Bell, Tre’s father, also spoke with the Sun on Tuesday.
The elder Bell said Florida did not mention the call between Hansen and Quinn as an issue and was ultimately upset about Gridiron Kings. Although Bell admits his son made a mistake by working out in the 7-on-7 tournament, he said Tre’ would have done so at FNL if he knew it was mandatory.
“He broke his high school rule because he shouldn’t have worked out at Gridiron Kings and that was a mistake,” Bell said of his son. “He’s been punished for that. But as a 17-year-old kid — when you’re talking about a chance to play on national T.V. for the second time, get a bunch of gear and come back home to New Jersey to say what you did — it was a lifetime opportunity. He’s competed against the best recruits at The Opening and Gridiron Kings and he did a very good job, so he would’ve had no problem competing at Friday Night Lights. But they never told us we had to camp. If they had told us that, then we would have camped. That’s what caused all this.”
Florida is not allowed to comment on Bell’s recruitment per NCAA rules, but sources close to the football program told the Sun a different version of what happened.
At the end of the day, this whole situation seems to be best described by what Bell’s father called it: “one big miscommunication.”