CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Vonn Bell could not make it to the stage to accept the E.B. "Red" Etter Outstanding Achievement in Football award Monday night at the annual Times Free Press Best of Preps banquet, but the Ridgeland grad had a pretty good excuse.
Bell had a full day of classes and workouts before boarding a plane in Columbus, Ohio, and arrived in time to receive his second consecutive Male Athlete of the Year honor later in the evening.
Though he almost missed that moment, too.
"We had a three-hour delay at the airport up there," the Ohio State signee said with a smile. "I was arguing with the lady in the desk telling her this thing started at 6:30 and I had to make it, but I guess it all worked out."
Bell is already two weeks into his college career after enrolling for summer class at OSU.
He took his first college quiz Monday morning, but said so far, getting used to classes and college life hasn't been as difficult as adjusting to offseason workouts with the Buckeyes' football program.
"It's all a process. You have to get used to your roomates, your classes and getting up early for workouts," Bell said. "Those coaches are just screaming at you and trying to make you pass out with every rep, but it's a really good time.
"You realize you need to be thankful for the opportunity to have these guys around you."
Bell developed a strong relationship with Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer during the recruiting process, and said Meyer encouraged him to return to Chattanooga for to receive the award.
"He said not a lot of guys get to enjoy things like this because there aren't a lot of places that put on events like this," Bell said. "I sat down (Monday) morning again to talk about it with him, and he said he really wanted me to go."
The homecoming was short-lived with more classes and practices waiting for Bell back in Columbus.
He focus remains fixed on playing early and making an immediate impact with the Big Ten favorites, and he believes he is on track to do just that.
"You go in with a chip on your shoulder thinking you need to beat these guys out for a spot by beating them out in every rep," Bell said. "Those coaches watch everything and look at your attitude and how you carry yourself. You just have to go in with a good mindset every day and get the job done and they'll put you on the field."