Phil Kornblut

Top Gamecocks recruiting target backs off commitment to Florida Gators

A top South Carolina target, athlete Jaheim Bell of Valdosta, Georgia, announced Thursday a decommitment from Florida.

Bell had been committed to the Gators since April 13.

“This is a business decision, so I want to make sure I make the right one,” Bell wrote on Twitter. “Choosing a school and program is a life changing and important decision that will affect my future. I need to make sure I make the best decision for me and my family. Florida is still a top school for me.”

He does not yet have a clear vision of his recruiting future. The Gamecocks continue to be a factor, though Bell said that at this point, no one is standing out to him as he restarts the process.

“I’m not sure yet, I don’t know where I’m at right now,” Bell said. “I don’t know where I’m at right now.”

Bell took an official visit to USC June 8.

“The players really stood out,” Bell said of the Gamecocks. “I feel like I fit in with them. They are really cool. They took me in like I’m on the team.”

Bell could play tight end at the next level but said the Gamecocks and others have recruited him as a receiver. Last season he caught 70 passes for 800 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Bell said he’s been “hearing just a little bit, not that much,” from Gamecock recruiter Bobby Bentley. “I’m pretty sure they still want me.”

Bell is a highly touted prospect who competed at The Opening earlier this week. He was considered one of Florida’s top commitments and his decision to decommit was not based on anything negative toward the Gators.

“I just need more time to make the right decision,” Bell said. “I could end up back there, I just need more time.”

Bell said he’s not sure about a short list yet, and he deleted his Twitter app from his phone because “I knew it was going to go crazy,” so he’s not aware of any coaches contacting him there and no one has called. He’s not sure when he’ll make his decision.

“I’m not sure who is on top and who is not,” Bell said. “I’m just chilling.”

Bell caught 70 passes for 800 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior.


Class of 2020 athlete Len’Neth Whitehead of Athens, Georgia, has USC in his final seven along with Georgia, Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Wisconsin and Texas.

USC is in the top 10 with 2021 corner Kamar Wilcoxson of Lilburn, Georgia. The others are LSU, Tennessee, Maryland, Texas A&M, Alabama, Georgia Tech, Florida and Ohio State.

Class of 2020 receiver Omarion Dollison of Gray Collegiate committed to Old Dominion.

Class of 2021 basketball prospect Bryce McGowens of Wren was offered by Iowa State.