Linebacker U. has reeled in its first linebacker for the recruiting class of 2013.
Brandon Bell, a 6-foot-1, 220-pounder from Oakcrest High School near Atlantic City, N.J., gave a verbal commitment to Penn State late Wednesday, starting what might be a run on players at the position for which the Nittany Lions are most identified in the next couple of weeks.
Bell had about a dozen scholarship offers, selecting the Lions over Rutgers after visiting both schools in a four-day span. Northwestern, Boston College, West Virginia, Maryland, UConn and Temple were among the other colleges high on his list.
"I went up there for a visit and that's the place I wanted to be for the future," Bell told the Press of Atlantic City. "It's the institution itself. It kind of won me over."
A two-time Atlantic City Press first-team all-star who gets high marks for his toughness, overall athleticism and pass coverage ability, Bell made 117 tackles, including 22 for loss, as a junior. He also had six sacks, three fumble recoveries and scored a pair of defensive touchdowns in addition to five scores on offense.
Bell is Penn State's 11th verbal commitment this year and the fourth from New Jersey.
While Bell is the first linebacker in the class, it looks like he might not be the only one for long. Central Dauphin's Zayd Issah and fast-rising Al-Rasheed Benton of Newark, N.J. both have the Lions on their short list and are scheduled to be on campus this weekend. Penn State is hosting its second advanced skills camp on Saturday.
Meanwhile, former Ohio State commit Alex Anzalone is supposed to visit Penn State later this month when several current Lion recruits are on campus.
Penn State is expected to sign three or four linebackers in this class.