Darien Porter moved to the Quad-Cities before starting middle school. Carter Bell has been at Bettendorf for just the past three years.

Even in a short period of time, Porter and Bell have formed a tight bond. They've been teammates in football, basketball and track and field. They've developed a close relationship away from athletics.

So when Porter and Bell solidified their college futures Wednesday, surrounded by family, coaches and teammates, they did it together in a signing ceremony at Bettendorf High School.

Porter, a 6-foot-4 and 175-pound receiver, signed a national letter of intent with Iowa State's football program. Bell did the same with the University of South Dakota on the first day of the early signing period.

"Darien and I have that bond not a lot of people have in sports," Bell said. "We have a really strong friendship, and that's why it's so special today."

Bell starred at quarterback for Bettendorf. Porter was one of his primary targets the past two seasons. They were on the Bulldogs' sophomore basketball team two years ago and have been track teammates the past two seasons.

"It has been an honor to be his teammate," Porter said. "He's a great kid and athlete. He deserves this just as much as I do. He's put in work a lot of people don't see or know about."

Porter committed to Iowa State's football program last December. Since then, he received offers from Minnesota and Nebraska. He took visits to Iowa and Notre Dame.

Still, nothing could supplant the feeling he had for Matt Campbell's program.

"Going up there and meeting everyone for the first time, I knew it was a special place," Porter said. "Knowing that I get to spend time and get coached by some of the best coaches in the country, win a lot of games and go to bowl games is a great feeling."

Porter, a three-star recruit and ranked 63rd nationally at the receiver position in the 2019 class, did contemplate enrolling early at Iowa State in the spring semester.

Instead, he'll finish out his senior year at Bettendorf. Porter will take another crack at the state's 400-meter record (47.01 seconds) and attempt to reclaim his state title after getting second a season ago.

"I just wasn't ready to leave everyone and everything at this school," said Porter, who had 27 receptions for 440 yards and seven scores for the Bulldogs this past season. "I wanted to finish my senior year of track, which meant a lot to me."

Before moving to Ames in June, he wants to add 10 pounds to his frame, improve his hand strength and focus on pass-catching ability.

He'll take summer classes at Iowa State and be involved in the program's strength and conditioning program.

"Hopefully, I can get ready enough so I don't have to redshirt, but I wouldn't be upset if I had to as well," Porter said.

Bell amassed 4,425 total yards (2,823 passing and 1,602 rushing) during his all-state career at Bettendorf.

Also with offers from Western Illinois and several Division II program, Bell will be moving to receiver at South Dakota.

Because of that, Bell will run track this spring and start the baseball season with the Bulldogs before moving to South Dakota in mid-June.

"They were really open to me finishing the baseball season, but I'm ready to get up there," Bell said. "I've got to adapt to that receiver position now. It is a lot of different training.

"I've been watching film on defenses the last four years. Now, I've got to switch over to guys that run routes and perfect those little crafts. I'm excited to switch positions, something new."

Like Porter, Bell said redshirting is a possibility. With the new rule where players can play up to four games and retain their redshirt season, it gives Bell and the Coyotes some flexibility.

The coaches have talked to Bell about a role on special teams.

"They've told me nothing is set in stone, and I'll have a chance to compete for a spot," Bell said. "I'm ready to get started up there."

There were three other players from the Quad-Cities to sign Wednesday.

In Rock Island, the Rocks had two offensive linemen sign national letters of intent. Kobe Rios will continue his career at the University of Northern Iowa. Logan Swartz signed with Kent State.

Orion's Logan Lee will play at the University of Iowa.

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Sports Editor

Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.