Dell pushes for more exposure, earns Houston scholarship
He never played for the infamous Jason Brown, the foulmouthed coach from South Central Los Angeles. Brown was removed from the job during Dell’s first semester there last spring after he was charged with blackmail and identity theft. Dell, however he said some of the other coaches were just as tough.
“At the practices, like how they talk to you and all that … that’s the truth right there. But as an athlete you gotta learn to take that and learn from it, “Dell said.
He was barely recruited out of high school and despite plenty of success at Mainland, he wound up with very few options for scholarships to play football in college. Once he ended up at Independence, he was focused on getting out quickly.
“At first, I ain’t gonna lie, and I know [ junior college] is like cut-throat, every man for themselves, and I was like, ‘OK, I gotta get everything straight. I gotta get myself out of here,’” Dell said. “But after I started hanging out with some of them boys, I realized [they were] trying to win. … So it’s like they were trying to accomplish something and I gotta help these boys out. We gotta win. I love them boys.
“I was fixing to be selfish and worry about myself. … They pulled me out of my selfish ways.”
In the process he finally started to make a name for himself. In 10 games this past season, Dell led Independence with 52 receptions for 766 yards and eight touchdowns. Finally, he was on the recruiting radar of several schools. Houston offered a scholarship, as did USF, Akron and Central Michigan.
Had he stayed at Alabama A&M, none of it would have happened. But it wasn’t easy leaving.
“At first it was a difficult decision. My mom was like, ‘You already got what you was working for. You’re going to school for free.’ That was a blessing for her,” Dell said. “But then we sat down and talked about me going to juco and I told her I felt like it could be a stepping stone for me to help get me where I want to go, which is the NFL. If I go to juco, I can get my name out there and go to a bigger university.
“At first she didn’t want me to do it because she thought it could ruin stuff. When December  came around, I really started to think about it. Then mom said she was going to be behind me 100% whatever I decided. I started praying about it and praying about it and I ended up leaving.”
He wasn’t sure the decision was right when he arrived in Kansas.
“When I got there I was like, ‘Dang. I’m really by myself now,’ ” Dell said. “I didn’t have nobody, but a good three months later I started to get to know some of the guys and Richard Kamara was there. He played at Mainland with me. So we said we could get through it together.”
He certainly got through it. Now he’s on his way to the American Athletic Conference.
“I’m happy that I went juco. I stuck with my word. Went there and did the work and God took care of the rest,” Dell said. “Praying is one of the biggest factors in my life and without God, I can’t do nothing. He’s the reason I’m here.
“I was taught that once you pray about something, you don’t have to think about it anymore. God takes care of the rest.”