Six weeks after he started against Georgia, funeral services will be held for Nick Bell Saturday in Birmingham, Ala.
The Mississippi State defensive end played in his team’s’ 24-12 win over Georgia on Sept. 25, but died Tuesday after a short battle with cancer.
“It’s scary,” Georgia center Ben Jones said Wednesday night. “You don’t know. It could be one of us. It could be one of our guys that could have happened to. It really makes your eyes open up.”
Bell was only 20. The Georgia game was the last he played.
He was diagnosed with a brain tumor in early October.
Georgia’s offensive linemen who went up against Bell talked about his death in the locker room on Wednesday.
“He was on Clint (Boling) most of the game,” Jones said. “(Boling) was like `Wow.’ Clint mentioned something about it today and the O-line talked about it.”
Jones went to Bibb County High School in Alabama, but said he did not know Bell, a Bessemer native who played at Jess Lanier and Minor.
“He was a good player,” Jones said. “We were talking about it today. He was rushing hard and you couldn’t tell anything was wrong with him.”
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said this afternoon that “things really took a turn for the worse on Sunday evening,” for Bell who was in a Birmingham hospital. Mullen visited Bell Monday and a busload of players went to visit him in the hospital on Monday night.
“It puts a lot of things in perspective for our players,” Mullen said. “We try to build them up to be so big, fast, strong, tough that they can do anything. They’re these warriors that we create or whatever it is. …That’s something our players are dealing with, how precious every day of their life is right now.”
Mullen spent his entire time on the SEC teleconference today talking about how his players are coping with the loss of their friend and teammate.
“Right now our team is going through some tough times in dealing with a situation that you hope no team ever has to go through,” Mullen said. “It’s tough to grip for young people to deal with the reality of the situation we’re dealing with.”
–Please follow me at Twitter.com/marcweiszer