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April 23, 2024

Bell Signs With University of Miami

Former CCHS football standout to play football at Power 5 School 

By Andy Collier, The Bolivar Bullet

Cleveland native and offensive lineman Markel Bell will be getting a chance to play college football at a Power 5 Division I school as he signed to play for the University of Miami on Dec. 20. 

Miami plays in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Bell (6-9, 335) inked his name with Miami after playing for Holmes Community College in Goodman, Miss. the last two years. Bell, a four-star recruit, was the top rated offensive lineman in the nation in the junior college ranks.

Bell was named First Team All-MACCC (Mississippi Association of Community Colleges Conference) and made the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) All-Region 23 team for his work on the gridiron this year. In his freshman year in 2022, Bell was named honorable mention All-MACCC. In Bell’s two years at Holmes, he was instrumental in leading the Bulldogs to back-to-back winning seasons. 

Before going to the junior college ranks, Bell was one of the leaders on the offensive line for the Cleveland Central High School Wolves in 2021 as they went 7-5 and advanced to the 5A State Football Playoffs which was the team’s first appearance in the postseason since 2017. 

Bell said playing football at Miami will give him the chance to see what life is like outside of Mississippi. 

“It’s a good opportunity for me to see more outside of football and get a grasp on what the rest of the world of the is like coming from Cleveland and comparing that to Miami,” said Bell. “What I really like about it is I get the opportunity for my family to experience it with me while I go out there and play football.”

The top schools that were actively recruiting Bell were Alabama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State University, Arkansas, Auburn, Louisville, the University of Houston and the University of Florida.

Bell said Miami proved to be the fit when it was all said and done. 

“They recruited me well through out the whole process,” said Bell. “When they came for a home visit, my mom and other family members clicked with them very well.” 

Bell said he can’t wait to suit up for the Hurricanes as they play their home games at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. which is the same place the Miami Dolphins of the NFL play their games.

“It’s truly a blessing to go out there and play in front of thousands of people and get to show what I can do on the big screen,” said Bell.

Bell was able to attain his Associate of Arts Degree in General Studies at Holmes in December. 

Bell said he grew as a player and a person during his two years at Holmes. 

“On the field, I was blessed enough to have a great coaching staff with Marcus Woods (Head Coach) and Les George my offensive line coach,” said Bell. “I spent more time with Coach George. He really helped me progress from a football stand point. Off the field being in Goodman, it really matured me as a young man and really put my head on straight as far as academics and life in general.”

During Bell’s time at Holmes, his physical development has him going to Miami in the best shape of his life. 

“’When I first went out there, I was around 380,” said Bell. “I trimmed back down to where I’m at now at 335. I feel better now. My body is forming, but I’m still not done yet.”