ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WRCB/AP) -- Ridgeland safety Vonn Bell made his presence felt among the nation's top high school all-stars at the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game at Tropicana Field Friday night.
Bell, who ranks as the No. 4 safety in the country according to ESPN, finished with two solo tackles and three pass breakups while leading a strong defensive effort for Team Highlight (Black) in a 16-3 win over Team Nitro (White).
Bell showed quick reflexes in batting down a pass in the first quarter, nearly making an interception he likely would have returned for a touchdown. His name was frequently mentioned by ESPN's play-by-play team throughout the first half.
"Vonn Bell's done a great job, not only in run support, but in coverage, while matching up all game against pound-for-pound the best all-around athlete in the country in Ryan Green (a running back committed to Florida)," said ESPN recruiting analyst Tom Luginbill during the live national broadcast. "Vonn Bell is really explosive. He's got great range and he's shown he's got great cover skills."
Bell is still undecided on his college future. He will take official visits to the top three schools on his list -- Alabama, Ohio State and Tennessee -- later this month before National Signing Day in early February.
Sean Covington kicked three field goals and Josh McNeil caught a touchdown pass to help Team Highlight beat Team Nitro 16-3 on Friday in the Under Armour All-America Game.
McNeil, a tight end from Durham N.C., caught a 6-yard scoring pass from Salt Lake City quarterback Cooper Bateman early in the second quarter to give Highlight a 10-0 lead. Bateman and McNeil both committed to Alabama at one point, but McNeil is currently favoring LSU.
Georgia commit and early-enrollee quarterback Brice Ramsay hit on a deep pass play in the second quarter, but also threw two interceptions. He made a poor throw on a screen play that was picked off by Matthew Thomas to set up the game's only touchdown.
Team Nitro cut it to 10-3 on Ryan Santoso' s 44-yard field goal, but the 270-pound kicker who is committed to Minnesota missed two other field goals.
Covington, a UCLA commit out of St. Petersburg, kicked field goals of 31, 30 and 25 yards and also averaged 40.8 yards on eight punts.
Tampa cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, headed to the University of Florida, was selected the MVP of Team Highlight, and Auburn, Ala., linebacker Reuben Foster was the MVP for Team Nitro. Foster committed to Auburn, but is now looking at Georgia, Alabama and Washington
There were five commitments in the game: Jackson, La., linebacker Kendell Beckwith committed to LSU over Alabama; New York City defensive end Ebenezer Ogundeko committed to Clemson over Florida and Syracuse; Lawrenceville, Ga., linebacker Trey Johnson chose Ohio State over Auburn; Mission Viejo, Calif., cornerback Max Redfield committed to Notre Dame over USC and Ohio State; and Seffner, Fla., safety Leon McQuay III committed to USC over Vanderbilt and Florida State.
Team Nitro rushed for minus-21 yards and threw four interceptions. Team Highlight's quarterbacks combined to go 10 of 32 for 93 yards and lost two fumbles.
Wide receiver Robert Foster, an Alabama commit from Monaca, Pa., caught four passes for 55 yards to lead Team Highlight, while LaQuon Treadwell had six catches for 46 yards for Team Nitro. Treadwell, who is from Crete, Ill., is considering Mississippi, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Bell is the first Chattanooga area player to participate in the Under Armour game, which features 90 of the nation's top high school seniors. Several area players, including Ooltewah's Jacques Smith, Cleveland's Chad Voytik and North Jackson's Tana Patrick, have played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Bradley Central offensive lineman and Tennessee commit Austin Sanders also played Friday night in the second annual Semper Fidelis Marins All-American Bowl.