June 12, 2010

Florida tackle impressed with visit

The mother of Tarpon Springs, Fla. offensive lineman Zach DeBell joked that she thought somebody was pulling a fast one when they visited Georgia's lockerroom during her son's visit this weekend to Athens.

Of all things, it was clean.

"I said 'OK, this one's for show, now where's the real one?'" Lisa DeBell said. "I was like 'This is it? Ok.' It looked like it could have been a library."

Mom wasn't the only one who liked what she saw.

So did father Steve, who said he asked his 6-foot-7, 270-pound son his impressions before he turned into bed Friday night.

"He loves it," Steve DeBell said. "I talked to him right after he was all settled in. I asked him how he liked it and he just grinned."

The elder DeBell agreed the entire Bulldog program made quite the impression.

Not only did the family receive an hour with head coach Mark Richt, but they sat in on a film session with offensive line coach Stacy Searels.

Earlier, running backs coach Bryan McClendon took the family on a tour of the campus, including stops at the Rankin Smith Academic Building and Sanford Stadium.

A visit to the student dorms was also on tap. Again, the DeBells liked what they saw.

"They showed us the dorm and somebody (Austin Long) was actually there," Steve DeBell said. "They asked us to come right on end. It was really nice that (Long) asked us to do that, as a parent that's just what we are looking for."

Although he's just 16 years old (DeBell doesn't turn 17 until August), DeBell boasts 23 offers (21 written), including ones from Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Clemson and South Carolina.

He's one of seven non-committed offensive tackles currently holding offers from the Bulldogs.

"Physically, I would love for him to redshirt, let him hang around the meal table for year," Steve DeBell said. "But once he grows into his body …"

At 6-foot-7, DeBell projects to well over 300 pounds.

Apparently, he's also still growing.

"There's a friend of mine who told me if you take your son's tonsils out prior to his 18th birthday, expect him to grow two inches. I told him there's no way in hell I'm going to take his tonsils out," Steve DeBell laughed. "He's catching a lot of heat from everybody and his brother tell him he ought to go into basketball. I'd say he's got two more years to grow. He's a little on the trim side now, but he eats healthy. He's not like us, he makes smart decisions. Zach will skip the fries and go to the fruit tray."

DeBell joked that his son sometimes gives off the wrong impression.

In many of his photos, the younger Zebell has a scowl that alone would frighten most opponents.

But looks are apparently deceiving.

"I think he gets his stare from his dad. I've got blue eyes and a lot of times I'm always squinting, so much that my wife says I always look like I'm pissed offer," Steve DeBell said. "But Zach's personality is one of the better ones you'll see. You run into quite a bit of attitudes and egos but Zach is not like that all. When his helmet comes off, he's your best friend. He'll knock you on your 'butt' and say 'What's up? My name is Zach.'"

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