It’s not uncommon when a high school football coach searching for a quarterback looks around, identifies his best athlete and tries to turn that guy into a signal caller.
If you didn’t know any better, you might think that was the case with Munford sophomore Jordan Bell.
After all, he is 6-3, 185 pounds and has athletic ability to spare. He also excels in basketball and track and field.
Bell, however, began playing quarterback when he was a six-year-old with the Tipton County Chiefs youth football team. If the Cougars had not had a very experienced quarterback in 2020 in Jaxon O’Neal, he might have started as a freshman.
“I was kind of itching to get out there last year,” said Bell, who is just 15 years old, “but you have to trust the process.”
Head coach Slade Calhoun of course acknowledges that Bell has top shelf athletic ability, but says there’s a lot more to him than that.
“The thing about Jordan, he’s a tremendous worker,” Calhoun said. “He works really hard, not just in football, but outside of football. He takes his academics seriously. He’s got a vision and a plan. He’s a guy on a mission.”
Bell has already received interest from schools like Austin Peay, Illinois, Tennessee and the University of Memphis. Over the summer he received a scholarship offer from D-I Eastern Kentucky.
“That’s a tremendous offer,” Calhoun said. “I mean he’s 15 years old and looks like a grown man. When he’s 20 he’s going to be unreal.”
Though Bell only took a few snaps during games in 2020, his teammates noticed what he brings to the table before the 2021 season even started.
“He’s been playing quarterback his whole life,” said senior running back Auvic White. “He’s about to be thrown into the fire and I think he’s going to handle the pressure well. I have big expectations for him. He’s a dual threat. He can kill you with his running ability, but the minute you take your guard down he’ll hit you with a pass.”
“He’s motivated,” said senior Xavier Russell. “He’s young and he’s got a bright future.”
“Oh man, he’s amazing,” said senior wideout Icarius Hodgin. “He’s got an extreme arm. He knows how to move away from the pass rush and get the ball to a receiver.”
Said senior Ben Cerniglia: “He’s very determined. He has some things to learn, but he’s going to compete. He’s a competitor for sure.”
Bell is fully aware a lot is asked of him as the starter at quarterback.
“It’s like you have to be a leader, take control and know what’s going on, on and off the field,” Bell said. “You have to keep everybody on point.”
Bell enjoyed an excellent 2021 season, leading the Cougars to a region title, top-10 state ranking and a playoff win. He made some amazing plays in the regular season finale win against Memphis Central that secured the region title.
An All-Region 8-5A quarterback, Bell completed 61 of 126 passes for 886 yards and 14 touchdowns and rushed 118 times for 1,063 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Calhoun believes Bell’s maturity and family will serve him well moving forward.
“His parents have established that if you want to get to point C you have to do A and B,” Calhoun said. “He gets coached hard and improves by leaps and bounds every day.”