On the eve of the official start of the 2016 football season, Tyler Bishop Gorman senior receiver Judah Bell announced his college decision.

Bell (6-3, 180) tweeted that he has committed to the U.S. Naval Academy on Sunday night.

The Crusaders' playmaker chose Navy over other Division I FBS offers from Bowling Green, Coastal Carolina, Houston, Kansas, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Memphis, New Mexico, North Texas, SMU, UTSA, and Wyoming.

Bell whittled his decision down to four schools last week -- Navy, Houston, Kansas, and SMU.

The Gorman wideout became the 16th East Texas player in the 2017 recruiting class to offer up a verbal commitment. He is the fourth to do so since Wednesday -- joining Nacogdoches DB Josh Thompson (Texas), Arp ATH Kayce Medlock (SMU), and Tatum LB D'Torian Smith (Air Force).

Of the 16 East Texas commitments from the 2017 class, three are pledged to U.S. service academies -- Bell, Smith, and Hooks ATH Jordan Johnson (Air Force).

Currently, three uncommitted area recruits hold offers from either Air Force, Army, or Navy -- Athens LB Noah Bush, Lufkin WR Dhailon Phillips, and Tyler Lee DB Makyle Sanders.

Navy is coming off a strong 2015 season, in which the Midshipmen finished with an 11-2 record. Navy's two losses came to Notre Dame and Houston -- its only defeat in American Athletic Conference play.

The Midshipmen are coached by Ken Niumatalolo, who is 68-37 in his eight seasons at Navy.

Bell was instrumental in Bishop Gorman’s run to the TAPPS Division II playoffs in 2015. He finished his year with 68 receptions for 1,350 yards and 16 touchdowns in only 11 games played.

All verbal commitments are non-binding. Like all high school football prospects entering their senior year, Bell will become eligible to sign with any school that offers him on Feb. 1, 2017.

2017 East Texas Football Players With Division I FBS Offers

  • Tristan Allen, Atlanta, LB, 6-3, 206 — offer from Louisiana Tech, UTEP (2)
  • Judah Bell, Tyler Bishop Gorman, WR, 6-3, 180 — committed to Navy; additional offers from Bowling Green, Coastal Carolina, Houston, Kansas, Memphis, New Mexico, North Texas, SMU, ULL, ULM, UTSA, Wyoming (13)
  • Noah Bush, Athens, LB, 6-1, 216 — offers from Air Force, Army (2)
  • Lagaryonn Carson, Liberty-Eylau, DE, 6-4, 261 — committed to Texas; additional offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Baylor, North Texas, Oklahoma, TCU, Tennessee, Texas A&M (9)
  • Terrell Cooper, Lindale, DE, 6-3, 240 — offers from Arkansas State, Memphis, Texas State (3)
  • Trestan Ebner, Henderson, WR, 5-11, 180 — committed to TCU; additional offers from Arizona State, Arkansas, Arkansas State, Colorado State, Houston, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi State, Missouri, North Texas, Ole Miss, SMU, Syracuse, UTSA, Texas A&M, Tulsa (18)
  • Montrell Estell, Hooks, WR/DB, 6-2, 180 — committed to Texas; additional offers from Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Baylor, Kansas, Notre Dame, SMU, Texas A&M, Texas State, Texas Tech, Tulane (12)
  • Octavius Evans, Center, WR, 6-2, 186 — offers from Indiana, Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas State, ULL (7)
  • Ted Fuller, Harleton, RB, 5-11, 195 — offers from ULM, Wyoming (2)
  • Tre Gatlin, Carthage, DE, 6-6, 210 —offer from Wyoming (1)
  • Austin Hawley, Gladewater, DB, 6-1, 200 — offer from ULM (1)
  • Kollin Hurt, Gilmer, DB, 6-3, 175 — committed to Louisiana Tech; additional offers from ULM, UTSA (3)
  • Jordan Johnson, Hooks, ATH, 6-0, 195 — committed to Air Force (1)
  • Kayce Medlock, Arp, ATH, 5-10, 186 — committed to SMU; additional offers from Army, Colorado, Navy, Tulane, ULL, UTSA (7)
  • Damion Miller, John Tyler, WR, 6-1, 189 — committed to Texas; additional offers from Baylor, Houston, Kansas, Missouri, North Texas, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, SMU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech (11)
  • LaMarcus Morton, Gilmer, WR, 6-2, 175 — committed to Oklahoma State; additional offers from Arkansas State, Colorado State, Houston, Indiana, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, New Mexico State, Texas Tech, Tulsa, ULL, ULM, UTSA (13)
  • Javonta Mosley, John Tyler, CB, 6-1, 170 — committed to UTSA; additional offers from Arkansas State, Houston, Memphis, North Texas, SMU, Southern Miss, Texas State, ULL, ULM (10)
  • Cade Pearson, Texas High, QB, 6-3, 193 — committed to North Texas; additional offer from Wyoming (2)
  • Dhailon Phillips, Lufkin, WR, 6-3, 195 — offers from Air Force, Texas State (2)
  • Dez Robinson, Atlanta, LB, 6-3, 210 — offers from UTEP, Wyoming (2)  
  • Kordell Rodgers, Lufkin, QB/ATH, 5-10, 165 — committed to Texas State; additional offers from Arkansas State, ULM (3)
  • Makyle Sanders, Tyler Lee, S, 6-1, 177 — offers from Air Force, Memphis, Navy (3)
  • Bryson Smith, John Tyler, QB/ATH, 6-0, 170 — committed to Houston; additional offers from Air Force, Arkansas State, Bowling Green, Memphis, New Mexico, North Texas, Purdue, SMU, Southern Miss, Texas State, Tulane, Tulsa, ULL, ULM, UTSA (16)
  • D’Torian Smith, Tatum, DE/LB, 6-3, 225 — committed to Air Force; additional offers from ULM, UTEP (3)
  • Major Tennison, Bullard, TE, 6-6, 248 — offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Oregon, SMU, Texas, Texas Tech, UCLA (14)
  • Josh Thompson, Nacogdoches, CB, 6-0, 182 — committed to Texas; additional offers from Arkansas State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Houston, Indiana, Kansas, Kansas State, Louisiana Tech, Minnesota, Missouri, North Texas, Ohio, Oklahoma State, SMU, TCU, Texas State, Texas Tech, Tulane, ULM, Utah, UTSA, Washington State, Wyoming (24)
  • Lakendrick VanZandt, Henderson, S, 6-1, 196 — committed to TCU; additional offers from Arkansas State, Houston, Memphis, Oklahoma State, SMU, TCU, Tulane, Tulsa (8)
  • Traveion Webster, Longview, S, 6-0, 197 — offer from ULM (1)