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Bell to chime in two sports for NAIA Fire
Brayden Bell
During his signing ceremony March 24, Brayden Bell announces his intention to attend Southeastern University. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff
I'm super proud of Brayden and all the amazing things that he's accomplished.
South Effingham wrestling coach Christopher Bringer

GUYTON — Brayden Bell was a hot recruiting commodity that the NAIA Southeastern University Fire intends to employ in two sports — wrestling and football.

“It is a really good wrestling school,” South Effingham head wrestling coach Christopher Bringer said March 24 during Bell’s signing ceremony in the South Effingham gym. “It had one of best years in school history this past year. This past year, they had their first two national champions at 149 and 165 pounds.”

Based in Lakeland, Fla., Southeastern won the 2020-21 Sun Conference championship and beat The Citadel for its first victory over an NCAA Division I program.

“They are an amazing school and they finally finished No. 7 in the country at the NAIA national tournament just two weeks ago,” Bringer said. “This is a program that is definitely on the rise and will be one of the biggest powerhouses in NAIA wrestling ...”

Bringer thinks Brayden, who recently finished as a Class AAAAAA state runner-up while wrestling at 182 pounds, will have a good chance to defeat a Division I competitor. He is a two-time region champion and three-time state qualifier.

“He obviously has the potential to do that,” the coach said.

Bell won more than 100 matches during his final two campaigns as a Mustang. Most of the victories were by pin, Bringer said.

“I’m super proud of Brayden and all the things he’s accomplished,” Bringer said. “He is going to be an amazing wrestler down at Southeastern and do a great job of representing our program.”

Bell will be a preferred walk-on for the Fire football squad, which finished the 2020 season ranked in the NAIA top 20. He played on both sides of the ball for the Mustangs, starting the last two years.

“It’s real exciting,” Mustangs head football coach Nathan Clark said. “He’s going to get to be a part of two good programs.:

As a senior, Bell logged 40 tackles, four tackles for a loss, one interception and one fumble recovery while playing safety. He also excelled on offense after being forced into a pivotal role because of a season-ending injury to quarterback Alex Cela.

“When Alex got hurt, we moved (Bell) over to play running back in our single-wing offense and he stepped up big,”  Clark said.

Bell rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown in a season-ending victory against Bradwell Institute.