Editor’s Note: Above image courtesy of Hudl
BELTON, Texas- As seems to be the case every year, the UMHB football coaching staff has brought in a stellar group of players in the Class of 2021, set to lead the Cru for years to come. Perhaps one of the most exciting players in this class hails from Killeen, Texas, no more than 20 minutes from Belton. TyJayzeon Bell wowed opponents, teammates, and pretty much everyone else who had the opportunity to see the 5’9, 175 lb quarterback/athlete play over the last two seasons at Shoemaker High School, and after earning back-to-back All-District selections along with many other accolades, Bell decided to take his talents to UMHB on January 19.
We caught up with the offensive playmaker just a couple days ago, to ask him about his recruitment to UMHB, his high school career, and much more.
What made you decide that UMHB was the place for you to continue your football career and go to college?
TB: “I would say it mostly all happened on my visit. Before that, it was up in the air for where I wanted to go. On the visit, seeing the campus, and I stayed and watched a practice, I was like,’This is somewhere I see myself’. Plus, it is closer to home. I don’t know if I’m ready to leave my parents behind like that.
“Purple and Gold is the one for me.”
Was there a specific coach on the UMHB staff that you realy connected with?
TB: “Coach Jack Johnson. He started recruiting me a while ago. I kept sending him film and one day he finally came up to the school and was like, ‘Yeah, I think you’d make a great slot receiver. I’ve seen the way your feet move and everything’. On the visit, he was showing me all the right stuff to do and everything around the campus. And I was like, ‘You know what, I see where this is going’.
So that brings up something interesting. You starred at quarterback this past fall in high school, so how has the transition been to wide receiver?
TB: “It’s been fine. I’ve always been an athlete. I was never strictly a quarterback. Even at football practice, I would go to receiver or I would to corner, what it took for my team to win. If I needed to go out there and play center, I would’ve done it. I was always on my toes playing other positions.”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js
Growing up in Central Texas, were you familiar with UMHB and the winning tradition before they started recruiting you?
TB: “I knew about them. I always heard about UMHB winning and I had a real good friend that played there and also in AVID, we went on a trip there my sophomore year, but it wasn’t a true visit. We went to one building, so the actual [recruiting] visit helped a lot. I never paid a lot of attention to [UMHB] but I’ve always had an idea of what UMHB was all about.”
Shoemaker plays in the eight-team 6A Region II District 12. How do you feel like facing the high level of competition there in that district has helped you elevate your game?
TB: “I didn’t go to Shoemaker my freshman year, so playing freshman football felt kind of easy. Then when I transferred to Shoemaker my sophomore year, they made me play JV, and I didn’t feel much competition there either. But my last two years on varsity, you could really see how, as you increased from levels of football, how the competition plays better. Varsity and JV are two different things. And high school football and college football are going to be two different things.”
You earned District Offensive MVP following a fall season in which you threw for 1,714 yards, 20 touchdowns, and also tallied 488 yards rushing. What were the emotions when you found out you’d been named Offensive MVP?
TB: “For me, it was a great feeling. The year prior, I had gotten first-team all-district, so my goal coming in was actually to be district MVP this year. I was on pace, I was the frontrunner and let’s just say I didn’t play my best games like our last two games of the season and so I ended up getting offensive MVP. I was still like, ‘Oh my gosh, I got offensive MVP’. But I was also a little disappointed in myself that I didn’t get district MVP like I had planned. But I didn’t complain, I was honored, and then it was time to get back in the lab and start training for college.”
It might be early to ask this, but do you have any specific goals for your career at UMHB?
TB: “My goal is to come in, first day, and make a statement. I don’t care if I’m a freshman and they’re seniors, my goal is to come in and make an impact. I want to make a brotherhood, I want to be friends, but for that first month of so, I’m here to win a spot. I don’t care if I’m a freshman that is just coming in and everyone doesn’t know too much about me. All you need to know is that I play football, I’m good at what I do, and I’m going to show you that I’m good at what I do. I’ll put in the work, always.”
You teamed up with Shoemaker receiver Vontez Martin on more than a few occasions during your high school career. How cool is it that the both of you will remain teammates here at UMHB?
TB: “Including me, I think it is four of us from Shoemaker that are committed to UMHB. We all got together. We were all somewhat [undecided]. When I went on my visit, it was with Vontez, so he saw what I saw. We thought, ‘we already have a brotherhood culture at Shoemaker, why not bring it here?’ We know what to expect from each other and now we can push each other even more than we did because college and high school are two different levels.”
Get to know Tyjayzeon Bell:
Favorite Subject: Sciences: “I’ve always enjoyed the different types of sciences.”
Sport I’d be playing if I didn’t play football: Baseball: “I think I would play baseball. I’m playing baseball now, but it is my first year of playing and I’ve improved a lot. If I would’ve stay focused on baseball and not played football, I probably would have been pretty good.”
Role Model(s): “I would most definitely say my parents. Also, my trainer, Columbus Givens, because he played college football [at SMU], he played overseas, he had a shot at the NFL and all that. He’s the person who has most definitely gotten me to where I am, with how I move and read the field, and my football ability. He’s someone that has inspired me because if you just sit and watch the things he does, they’re out of this world.”