InsideNDSports - 2023 Rivals250 CB Micah Bell announces Notre Dame commitment
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2023 Rivals250 CB Micah Bell announces Notre Dame commitment

2023 four-star cornerback Micah Bell is the top cornerback to commit to Notre Dame in four years.
2023 four-star cornerback Micah Bell is the top cornerback to commit to Notre Dame in four years. (Rivals.com)

Persistence paved the way for a commitment from a cornerback who can outpace most.

Although speedster Micah Bell was Notre Dame’s most recent 2023 defensive recruit offered, the Irish caught up quickly in landing the four-star recruit on Friday.

“Once they offered me, they were always on me,” said Bell, who reported his ND offer about three months ago. “I did not get that out of some other schools, where they were on me and would back off. (Notre Dame) was on me constantly. The coaches were always calling me and coming to the school. I liked that.”

The Houston Kinkaid School rising senior chose the Irish over Baylor, Houston, Stanford, Texas and others. Following his pledge, the Irish leapfrogged Texas for the No. 2 spot in the Rivals team rankings with 2,209 points. Ohio State currently stands as the No. 1 class in the 2023 cycle with 2,307 points.

About a year ago, Micah followed his brother, Dillon Bell, through the recruiting process. To his recollection, Micah accompanied Dillon — a 2022 wide receiver committed to Georgia — on trips to Auburn, Alabama, Michigan and Colorado.

Micah only reported unofficial visits to in-state schools like Baylor, Houston and Texas. He saw Notre Dame as an unoffered prospect for the USC game on Oct. 23.

Before his second Notre Dame visit (June 17-19), Micah had an idea he was Irish. Those close to him were telling him. But the Texas Longhorns faithful around him made their voices heard too. After researching, he found that Notre Dame was the best fit.

“I never thought I was going to go to Notre Dame,” he said, “but then I looked into it. I looked into coach (Marcus) Freeman and (cornerbacks coach) Mike Mickens. I was like, ‘This could be the place that I want to be at.’ It’s a different vibe and feeling than Texas. I wanted a different experience. And it’s a good school. It all came together well.”

Notre Dame cornerbacks coach Mike Mickens (left) played a key role in Micah Bell's (right) recruitment.
Notre Dame cornerbacks coach Mike Mickens (left) played a key role in Micah Bell's (right) recruitment. (Notre Dame Athletics)

So, during his official visit in June, Rivals’ No. 16 cornerback informed Freeman he was committing to Notre Dame.

“I wanted him to know before anyone else,” the 5-foot-11, 165-pound Bell said. “I wanted to look him in the eyes and tell him I was coming.”

Freeman responded with a question.

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“He was like, 'Are you serious?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I am serious,’” Bell recalled. “Then, he gave me a hug. It was a cool moment I will never forget.”

In Bell’s recruitment, Notre Dame’s head coach lived up to his word when he said he would be the lead recruiter. Freeman made sure Notre Dame was constantly on the mind of the No. 114 player in the class.

“He finds time in his busy day to call me,” Bell said. “You don’t get to talk to every single head coach. They may come up and talk to their players, but (for him) to talk to the recruits that are not even on campus yet, I found that cool. He’s a great guy. I like that he’s involved with the players. I like him as a head coach.”

Former defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman was promoted to head coach in December 2021.
Former defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman was promoted to head coach in December 2021. (Jeff Douglas, Inside ND Sports)

Besides Freeman, Bell grew close bonds with Mickens and defensive analyst Dre Brown. Although Bell intends to play cornerback, he said the Irish told him, “I could play wherever I want.” However, the coaching staff has expressed their desire for him to focus on defense and special teams.

Bell says his speed will make him stand out at Notre Dame. As a junior, he achieved a personal best of 10.41 seconds in the outdoor 100-meter dash. For comparison’s sake, the fastest time recorded by a Notre Dame track and field participant this season was 10.78 seconds (Paul Baynes).

“Micah has phenomenal speed, which is definitely what Notre Dame has needed,” Prep Football Report recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said. “He has blazing speed and athletic ability. That’s a big catch. He’s a sensational athlete.”

Bell’s commitment marks a milestone for the Notre Dame football program.

Pending his signature in December, he will be the highest-rated cornerback to sign with the Irish since Isaiah Rutherford in 2019. Bell is also the highest-rated cornerback the Irish have signed from Texas in the Rivals era (2002).

While Notre Dame might be far from Micah’s home base in Houston, the culture suits him well.

2023 four-star cornerback Micah Bell has visited Notre Dame twice.
2023 four-star cornerback Micah Bell has visited Notre Dame twice. (Notre Dame Athletics)

"I’ve been here so long that I wanted to experience something different,” he said. “This is a new experience. (Notre Dame) has had players do internships in other countries and play games in other countries. It’s the perfect fit.”

Bell is Notre Dame’s 17th commit and first cornerback in the 2023 class. The Irish hope to add Rivals100 cornerback Christian Gray, who will announce his decision Monday. ND will also learn the destination of four-star wide receiver Rico Flores Jr. when he reveals his commitment Saturday.

Inside ND Sports has predicted Flores and Gray to commit to Notre Dame.

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