George Bell, Branden Barden to Transfer

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In
just two days, Virginia Tech has lost the services of two offensive players.
True freshman tight end Branden Barden decided to transfer to Vanderbilt after spending Spring semester in Blacksburg, while rising r-junior running back George Bell is
moving on to Catawba College after recurring knee problems limited his playing
time at Virginia Tech.

Bell is obviously the more important loss for the upcoming season, because he
was competing for playing time behind starting tailback Branden Ore. In two
seasons for the Hokies, Bell had 77 carries for 299 yards, an average of 3.9
yards per carry, and six touchdowns.

Bell almost gave up football last fall on the advice of running backs coach
Billy Hite after Bell continued to suffer setbacks with his knees. However he
stuck it out and found himself in the rotation after Ore went down with an
injury in the Wake Forest game. Bell was competing with Kenny Lewis, Jr. and
Jahre Cheeseman for the backup spot this year.

Bell was a highly-touted recruit who tore virtually all the ligaments in his
knee during his junior season in high school. Despite the injury and the fact
that he only played in three games as a senior, he was rated the #4 tailback in
the country and the #28 prospect overall by Tom Lemming. He was the #12 tailback
nationally according to Rivals.com. Bell signed with the Hokies, but
unfortunately his career didn’t go as well as many Tech fans envisioned it
would.

Catawba College is a Division II school in Salisbury, NC. Bell is originally
from Fayetteville, NC, so he will be playing close to home. He will be eligible
for immediate playing time after his transfer.

Branden Barden is a member of the 2007 recruiting class who enrolled in
January to go through spring practice. Barden played quarterback in high school
and projected as a tight end or possibly wide receiver at VT. At 6-5, 215,
Barden would have had to bulk up considerably to play tight end. Barden
eventually came to the conclusion that he made the wrong decision and decided to
transfer to Vanderbilt, which was his mother’s first choice during the
recruiting process, per a recent article in the Nashville
City Paper
.

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