When the incoming freshmen from Ohio State's 2013 recruiting class finally report to campus this June, the most heralded member of that group will be looking to hit the ground running.
Vonn Bell, the highest rated recruit from Ohio State's outstanding '13 class, isn't looking to ease his way onto the Buckeyes' football team. Despite some legitimate depth in Ohio State's secondary, the 5-star safety (via 247Sports.com) wants to come in and compete for playing time on day one.
In an interview with Kevin Noon of BuckeyeGrove.com, Bell said that he's preparing himself physically so that he isn't overwhelmed by the practices. The star prospect out of Rossville, Ga. has added over 15 pounds of muscle, up from his high school playing weight of 177 to a solid 193.
Because he's preparing himself physically, the biggest challenge facing Bell this summer will be learning Ohio State's defensive scheme.
I just want to get in and learn the system as quick as I can. Obviously this time of year, everyone is working for a spot. The coaches say they might put me at Nickel at first so coming out I have to just learn the system and listen to the coaches.
Making Bell the fifth defensive back in Ohio State's nickel defense could be a huge advantage, especially against teams that will want to spread the Buckeyes out this fall.
Ohio State struggled immensely last year when opposing offenses attacked the perimeter of its defense. Six of Ohio State's first seven opponents spread the Buckeyes out in various ways with a tremendous amount of success. Going into its Week 8 matchup with Purdue, Ohio State was giving up a bloated average of 277 passing yards per game.
Of course, the Buckeyes tightened up their defense over the last five games, but much of that was due to an elevated play from the front seven and a change in the style of opponent Ohio State faced.
When the 2013 football season finally arrives, the Buckeyes will need to be better at defending teams who attack their perimeter. Ohio State defensive coordinator Everett Withers is hoping Bell can help.
"His development in the scheme will be crucial," Withers said of Bell, via Rivals.com. "Hopefully he can fit and be able to help us in some of those sub packages, nickel and dime, and maybe even at the free safety position, help us be able to provide some depth there."
According to Marc Givler, Bell is doing everything he can to be that guy for Ohio State this year, "I'm trying to get to 200. I want to be a head hunter when I get up there."
David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.