Alabama football provides athletes with more than just a paycheck on Sundays.
All ambitions desire to be finalized, yet the truth is every player will not make it in the National Football League. For those stuck outside, head coach Nick Saban helps prepare them for life.
Whether it’s landing a career to support their families or molding young minds to pursue lofty goals, Crimson Tide football is a launching pad where players come to make a difference.
People grew fond of Amari Cooper, Kevin Norwood and DeAndrew White during their tenures at the Capstone, however, a player that was more endearing than this trio was Kenny Bell.
He probably laughs about it now, but in 2009 the 18-year-old did something that was rarely seen in college football. Bell, a native of Rayville, La., left his home to pursue an education and career at the University of Alabama, the Southeastern Conference rival of Louisiana State University.
The explosive 6-foot-1 wide receiver enjoyed a time in which he was a part of three BCS national championships (2009, 2011-12) and two SEC titles, while having his best season as a junior in 2013.
Bell caught 17 passes for 431 receiving yards and four touchdowns in 12 games.
He remains a student of the game, but nowadays Bell is grooming young talent. After his days at Alabama and earning an NFL tryout, he is now one of the coaches at Ruston (La.) High School. Though his expertise at the receiver position, Bell’s biggest influence at this point comes on the defensive line.
Fifty-five miles from his playing days is a school that housed one of the top junior college recruits for the 2017 signing class. Isaiah Buggs, a four-star prospect, is a sought after defensive end prospect. The 6-foot-5, 290-pounder was a stud at Mississippi Gulf Coast, but his earlier years were at Ruston High School.
He juggled both football and basketball, but the gridiron had a stronger pull by 2014.
He posted 102 total tackles, including 19 for loss and six sacks. He would force three fumbles and earn multiple individual honors as a senior, before enrolling at Mississippi Gulf Coast. Buggs had a strong year with the Bulldogs, totaling 75 tackles and 3.5 sacks. In signing his financial papers for the Tide, Buggs fills an immediate need along the defensive line. Bell, who was one of the first three student-athletes to leave Louisiana for Alabama under Saban (Robby Green, Eddie Lacy), sees the potential in Buggs to be the next savage on defense. He observes it so much that he’s taken on the responsibility of training him.
— Isaiah D. Buggs (@BigPooh_91) December 20, 2016
Multiple videos and photos have surfaced on social media that feature the talented specimen pushing his body to the limit, and Bell coaching him on in the background. From watching his children Mymy, KJ and Rayon captivate the press during interviews at Alabama to guiding one of the biggest pieces for the Tide 2017 class, Bell remains a smooth staple of crimson and white.
— Kenny Bell (@TheKennyBell7) December 20, 2016