Funny how things work out in life.
Several years ago, Rory Bell wasn’t allowed to play football.
Back in the summer, Bell wasn’t even sure he’d be going to college.
Now, the Wilmington High School senior is headed to Philadelphia to kick for the Temple University football team.
Bell played four years for the Hurricane. He was the regular punter three years but had to wait his turn to kick behind Brady Henry. He took advantage with a booming leg as full-time kicker this season for WHS. He was ranked No. 2 in the nation, he said, by Game Winner Kicking.
Fans and coaches from teams around the SBAAC commented on how strong Bell’s leg was during warmups and in games.
But Bell had “looks” from just a couple schools — Urbana University and the University of Toledo. As things turned out, Temple was the only school to offer Bell a place on the football team roster. That came Sept. 30.
“When I signed, I felt relieved that I knew where my home will be next year,” said Bell, who also was a member of the WHS swim team and track/field team. “Before I received an offer from Temple, I didn’t even know if I was going to go to college next year.”
Bell said the Temple coaches were all very genuine and truly cared about their players, making the decision to head east an easy one. Bell said his intended major for now is criminology.
When Bell started playing football in fifth grade, he was a linebacker, running back and punt returner. He remembers losing to a team from Kettering that season because they had a kicker.
“My coach knew some of us were soccer players so he held a kicker tryout,” Bell said. “I won the competition and started kicking field goals and punting in games.”
That was short-lived, though. Bell suffered a concussion in the sixth grade and was not allowed to play football … unless he was a kicker only.
“I hated the thought of not being able to play offense and defense but now I realize it was all part of God’s plan,” he said. “My mom suggested that I just focus on being the best kicker I can be. I sat out until my concussion symptoms were gone. If I never focused on being a kicker only, I would not be in the situation I’m in now.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports