The 90 Illini #79: BJ Bello June 14, 2012
6′-2″, 205 lbs.
True Freshman (on scholarship, 5 years to play 4)
Lincoln Way West HS / New Lenox, IL
ALE Ranking last year: NR
What I Know About Him:
He didn’t receive an offer from Ron Zook, so Bello was committed to Western Michigan. But when Tim Beckman took over, he went looking for safeties, got Bello to visit, and Bello made the switch.
So he’s probably a bit of a project recruit. Sometimes, the overlooked guys are hungry to prove they belong in the Big Ten. Sometimes they’re overwhelmed for a few years but pick it up in their last two years. And sometimes they’re just overwhelmed.
What I Expect From Him:
I do like him on film. Maybe I’m reading into it, but I see instincts. Playing safety has some to do with size and athleticism and speed, but it’s probably mostly instincts. Will you bite and open your hips? Will you come down on a run and let the receiver behind you? Will you read the run well and fill gaps like a linebacker?
We just won’t know with a guy like Bello until we see him on the field. And with Sanni and PNY graduating after this season, Bello might have a chance to show us that sooner rather than later. Next year, it’s STEVEHULL starting at one safety spot, and then a wide open competition for the other spot. With a solid year on the scout team, Bello could put himself in position to make a run at playing time as a redshirt freshman.