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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Senior year or not, Le'Veon Bell has left his mark

Le'veon Bell has a tough decision awaiting him.
It was September 3, 2010, as freshman running back Le'Veon Bell was preparing for his first college football game versus Western Michigan University. A two-star recruit out of Groveport Madison HS, Bell entered the season as the third-string Running Back behind Sophomore's Larry Caper and Edwin Baker. Baker and Caper became a formidable duo as freshman, combining for 205 carries and 895 yards and turning up expectations for the 2010 season. Late in the 2nd quarter, Bell broke a 75-yd run capping a magical day that saw him finish with 140 yards on 10 carries and 2 touchdowns, becoming the first Spartan freshman to run for 100 yards in his opening game.

He finished his freshman year ranking second in carries (107), rushing yards (605), and touchdowns (8), while being named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team and was added mid-season to the Doak Walker Award Watch List. He showed a knack for getting the tough, extra yards. He flashed a spin move that marveled no one in the B1G, and left defenders cleaning dirt out of their helmets. His coaches and teammates applauded his awareness to pick up every blitz out of the backfield, which kept him on the field to protect Kirk Cousins.

Entering his Sophmore season, Bell and Baker where in-line to share carries and become best stable of backs at Michigan State since Javon Ringer and Jahuu Caulcrick. Racking up 948 yards on 182 carries, being named Honorable Mention All Big Ten,  while he was named the Most Outstanding Underclassman Back on offense, Bell entered his Junior year as the undisputed lead back -- following Bakers puzzling entrance into the NFL Draft -- and on most experts Heisman Watch List. A team viewed as one dimensional with a first year quarterback, Bell put the Spartans on his back versus Boise State -- in the seasons opener -- posting an incredible 44 carries for 210 yards and two touchdowns.

Le'veon Bell hurdles Boise State defenders.
He lead the Spartans to a bumpy 6-6 record, losing 5 games by four points or less on the season. Recording 350 carries, 1648 yards and 11 touchdowns in his junior season, he takes on a tough TCU (7-5) squad in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl tonight for what could be his final game as a Spartan. Many alumni and fans are expecting the junior to return for a senior season, but Bell has stressed he has yet to make a decision and will do so after the Bowl Game. A running backs life in the NFL has become short, due to the grind and pound they take through a full season. Bell has made a lasting impression, and become the latest of great backs to wear the Green and White and would do himself well by making the most of his chances in the NFL, rather than staying and risking his health as a senior.

No matter what he decides, Bell has become a legend, a name that is sure to find its way inside homes for years to come. The hurdles, the heart, the maturity, Bell is an athlete that a parent can know their children are looking at a superior role model. No matter what he decides to do, rest assured Le'veon Bell will prove them wrong as he's done his entire life. Here's to a great career in the NFL.


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