Photo: Florida A&M Athletics

Midway through the second quarter of Florida A&M’s matchup at South Florida Saturday, defensive back Markquese Bell bolted through the Bulls’ offensive line on a blitz, grabbed quarterback Timmy McClain by the waist before violently tossing him aside for a drive-killing sack.

That was one of a career-high 15 tackles on a night when Bell also forced a fumble and was seemingly around the ball after every snap.

What has been routine for Bell at Florida A&M the last two seasons, was just another example of why 6-foot-3, 205-pound redshirt senior safety is regarded as one of the top HBCU pro prospects ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Bell’s display earned him SWAC Defensive Player of the Week and Reese’s Senior Bowl Player of the Week honors.

Also read: ‘Change is good’: Bethune-Cookman, Florida A&M excited to join HBCU ‘power conference’

Everyone from opponents to scouts to head coach Willie Simmons understands just how special Bell is.

“He’s our top pro prospect,” Simmons said Monday. “He’s arguably the top pro prospect in all of Black college football, one of the top in FCS football.”

As many as 24 NFL scouts, said Simmons, have inquired about the former Under Armour All-American as his play continues to impress.

It also didn’t hurt that Bell had his monumental performance against an FBS opponent on national television.

“He’s (Bell) the first one they ask about and the one (player) they ask about the most,” said Simmons. They will definitely take a look at this game, and the fact that he had 15 tackles probably bodes well for him.

“He really doesn’t have a weakness. He’s a well-rounded player. He’s a special player. He just has it.”


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