DALLAS – When Blake Bell switched positions from quarterback to tight end, Oklahoma apparently said goodbye to the Belldozer.
Sooners coach Bob Stoops said Bell will no longer take snaps out of the short-yardage formation he made famous over the past three years. He will be a full-time tight end as a senior.
“No, not at all,” Stoops said when asked if Bell will continue seeing time at quarterback. “It’s funny that keeps coming up. When you look at him, he is the prototype tight end. He’s got great hands, great size. He can run.”
At 6-foot-6, 258 pounds, Bell certainly has the ideal body to play tight end. But the former Bishop Carroll standout didn’t start playing the position until this offseason. He came to Oklahoma as a quarterback and made a name for himself as a change-of-pace behind Landry Jones.
During his first two seasons, he rushed for 372 yards and 24 touchdowns. As a junior, he played in 11 games and became the starter midway through the year, completing 140 of 233 passes for 1,648 yards and 12 touchdowns. He played well, leading Oklahoma to road victories at Notre Dame and Oklahoma State. But Trevor Knight took control of the job late and guided the Sooners to a victory over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
Rather than remain a backup quarterback or transfer, Bell decided to switch to tight end.
Stoops is already expecting a lot out of him.
“It’s in his genes,” Stoops said. “His dad was an NFL tight end for eight years. I think he’s really going to impact us in a great way.”
GREEN-BECKHAM IN NCAA HANDS
Stoops remains hopeful that transfer receiver Dorial Green-Beckham could be eligible this year as the NCAA appeals process continues.
Green-Beckham, the former Missouri star, announced his transfer to Oklahoma on July 3 after being dismissed from Missouri in early April following a rash of off-field incidents.
Stoops said he was comfortable adding Green-Beckham after building a relationship with Green-Beckham and his family during the initial recruiting process. Green-Beckham, a Springfield, Mo., native, also was familiar with Oklahoma coach Jay Norvell.
“The person that he is, “ Stoop said, “... we felt the opportunity to give him a second chance at our place could serve him well.”
Green-Beckham, who has two remaining years of eligibility, will petition the NCAA for a waiver in hopes of playing right away at Oklahoma. Green-Beckham could seek a waiver under the “run-off rule,” which allows athletes who are denied the opportunity to return to their team for reasons outside the player’s control to appeal for immediate eligibility with their new team.
Speaking at SEC media days last week, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said he spoke with Stoops about Green-Beckham. But Pinkel wouldn’t offer an opinion about whether Green-Beckham should be eligible immediately. He was dismissed from the Tigers after an investigation into his role in an alleged burglary and assault.
“That’s up to the NCAA,” Pinkel said. “That’s their choice. That’s what they do. I don’t do that.”