Kell’s Kahlil Bell takes unique steps to walk on at BYU
by Adam Carrington
acarrington@mdjonline.com
July 02, 2013 11:50 PM | 18245 views | 11 11 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
10-05-12 -- Kell at Riverwood 08 --  Kell's Khalil Bell (23) takes a handoff from quarterback Matthew McGuigan (13) and is on his way to a Longhorn touchdown.  SPECIAL/CECIL COPELAND..
10-05-12 -- Kell at Riverwood 08 -- Kell's Khalil Bell (23) takes a handoff from quarterback Matthew McGuigan (13) and is on his way to a Longhorn touchdown. SPECIAL/CECIL COPELAND..
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Former Kell High School running back Kahlil Bell has made an interesting decision.

This spring, he was offered a scholarship to play football at Georgia Southern, and Auburn offered him a chance to walk on. Instead, Bell will be going cross country to play football as a walk-on at Brigham-Young University, now a Football Bowl Subdivision Independent that has previously won 23 conference titles as a member of the Western Athletic and Mountain West Conferences, and played in 31 bowl games.

BYU, located in Provo, Utah, the largest religious school in the nation that was founded under principals of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Bell is still content with his decision to play football more than 1,800 miles from home, and he is already in Provo working out with first-year coach Bronco Mendenhall and his new teammates.

“First thing that struck me was the distance he has to go to play there,” Kell coach Derek Cook said.

Not only did BYU’s football program attract Bell’s attention, the school’s law program played a role in his decision. He also mentioned the rules can work to his benefit by keeping him out of trouble.

“I wanted to stay away from the partying and focus on my schoolwork and my career, wherever that takes me,” the 5-foot-9, 175-pound Bell said. “Yeah I could have went to Georgia Southern or Auburn. I really liked (BYU). I went on a visit and it’s going to be good school wise and the football program is one of the best.”

To help keep him out of trouble, his family has also relocated to Utah, and he may need them to lean on.

While the school boasts of the finer football programs in the nation, Bell will have to follow a strict code of conduct consistent with Church of Latter Day Saint principals.

He can’t partake in drugs, tobacco, or alcohol, nor is he allowed to drink coffee or tea. He’s got a midnight curfew. No premarital sex and foul language are allowed and is required to attend church services every week at his respective religion. Facial hair is also not allowed. Hair length has to be above the ears and sideburns can’t extend below half of his ear.

One of the recent high-profile cases regarding a BYU athlete breaking the code of conduct came in March of 2011 when the then No. 3-ranked men’s basketball team dismissed 6-foot-9 center Brandon Davies for admitting to premarital sex. He was reinstated the following season.

“(The code of conduct) really is not a problem with me,” Bell said. “It’s not a big change. It’s not a big change for me as it is some people. I’ve lived my life that way growing up so it’s no big deal.”

While BYU’s code of conduct isn’t Bell’s primary concern, learning to play slot receiver is.

He was open to making the change when it was discovered that the Cougars already had significant depth of young tailbacks. He said playing receiver will allow him a chance to earn a starting position quicker. Bell discovered quickly he does have good hands and loves making plays in space.

A realistic goal for Bell is to be a starter by next season and eventually become a scholarship player.

He served as Kell’s short-yardage back in 2012, rushing for 563 yards and 14 touchdowns. Bell helped lead the Longhorns to a 10-2 overall record before falling to eventual state champion Gainesville in the second round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs.

“The thing about Khalil, for us, by the time he first showed up (as a transfer) until he played his last game, he’s gotten better and better,” Cook said. “He started out on our scout team and had to work his way to the top and I anticipate he’s be going to BYU and do the same thing.”

Comments
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BYUcoconut
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July 05, 2013
Welcome to BYU Kahlil! JD Falslev is another slot receiver who walked on at BYU and became a significant contributor on offense and special teams. He also earned himself a scholarship. He's an undersized player that didn't get many looks from D-1 programs, but is a warrior!
Combblai
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July 04, 2013
I think Kahlil has a great chance to make a team and earn a scholarship! You may have to serve a year on the scout team but that will be great for your development in the slot.

Note: some facial hair is okay, ex: mustache not past the corners of the mouth. I would not recommend it. Not a good look these days.

Go Cougs.
bamacoug
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July 03, 2013
I have also never heard you have to attend church at your respective religion. Has anyone else ever heard this?
BYU George
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July 12, 2013
It is true. They attend their own church services. There's plenty of non-LDS churches in the area.
Verborten
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July 03, 2013
You made a great decision Khalil! Here's some good news...you are not required to attend any church services on Sundays. Of course you are welcome to, but that is not a requirement.

Welcome to the Y!
bublnet
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July 03, 2013
Welcome to BYU Kahlil! Hook up with Jamal Williams and his family, they are awesome folks.
BYUVA
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July 03, 2013
Glad to have you on the team. I look forward to watching you play. Go Cougars.
Drew Scholl
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July 03, 2013
Welcome to BYU... Only one thing. Bronco Mendenhall has been the head coach at BYU since 2005. He is not a "first-year coach" haha
CougFanRodge
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July 03, 2013
Kahlil,

I'm, very much, looking forward to watching your progression within the team. Cougar Nation welcomes you! Go Cougs!
Cougar Passion
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July 03, 2013
Sounds like a great kid, and we welcome the likelihood of him developing into a great player through continued hard work.

I would mention to the writer of the article, however, that Bronco Mendenhall is not a first-year coach. He's been the head coach since 2005.
Buffalochip1
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July 03, 2013
@Kahlil:

Welcome aboard! We have a rich tradition of walk on players making the team, earning scholarships, and becoming major contributors. Looking forward to following your career at the Y, and Go Cougars !!!!
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