Le’Veon Bell, junior and star of the final season game between the Michigan State Spartans and the Minnesota Golden Gophers, received the CFPA Elite Running Back Trophy by the College Football Performance Awards. Bell has rushed for a career-best of 1,648 yards in 2012. This is the second-best season total for Michigan State History (the record is held by Lorenzo White, 1985, 2,066 yards), the top record for the year in the Big Ten, and third-highest record for the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision.
Le’Veon Bell also is a Doak Walker Award (first awarded in 1990 to honor the top college running back) semifinalist. He is also a first-team All-Big Ten selection (both Coaches and Media). This 6-foot-2, 237 pound player is oft-seen carrying opponents on his back while he strives for first-down yardage. He is one of four players in the NCAA to produce three 200-yard rushing games in 2012, including the 266 career best yardage earned during the Spartans-Golden Gophers game.
“I’m both humbled and honored to receive the 2012 CFPA Running Back Trophy,” Bell said in an official statement from MSU. “When you look around the country – and around the Big Ten in particular – there are a lot of worthy players for this trophy.
“As a running back, no one knows better than I do that this isn’t an individual honor, it’s a team award. The offensive line, tight ends, fullbacks, and receivers all played a significant role in helping me have a productive season. I’m also thankful for the coaching staff having faith in me and for placing me in situations where I could be successful.”
Le’Veon Bell is no stranger to making a splash. As a high school student at Groveport Madison in Columbus, Ohio, bell was a three-year starter and was named to SuperPrep’s and PrepStar’s All-Midwest Teams. As a senior, he rushed 200 times for 1,333 yards and 21 touchdowns. He carried 30 times for a career-best 336 yards.
During Bell’s Freshman year at Michigan State, he earned Big Ten All-Freshman honors from both ESPN.com and Rivals.com. During the season, he was added to the Doak Walker Award Watch List, and he ranked second on the team in terms of carries (107), rushing yards (605), and rushing touchdowns (8). He earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors twice and became the first freshman running back in MSU history to rush for more than 100 yards in his debut.
In his sophomore year Le’Veon Bell made honorable mention to All-Beg Ten selection by both coaches and the media. He was also named to the CollegeFootballNews.com All-Sophomore Team as an honorable mention. He received the Spartan’s Most Outstanding Underclass Back Award for offense and ranked eighth in the Big Ten in rushing with 948 yards on 182 carries. He was named Spartan Offensive Player of the Week when he tied his career high with three rushing touchdowns.
In the most recent year, Bell blossomed. He was voted Most Valuable Player (The Governor’s Award) by his teammates, he was also a first-team All-Big Ten pick by ESPN.com, named CFPA National Running Back of the Week and Big Ten C0-Offensive Player of the Week after the game against Minnesota.
With all these honors and accolades, it’s easy to see that Bell is a player to keep an eye on in this next year. He produced the top carries total for a single game in the NCAA FBS (44 against Boise State) and the eighth most rushing yards in the game against Minnesota.
“Congratulations to Le’Veon Bell for being recognized as the nation’s elite running back by the College Football Performance Awards.” MSU head coach Mark Dantonio said in an official statement from MSU. “Le’Veon is very deserving of this honor. No running back in the country was asked to carry more of his team’s workload. His ability to make people miss combined with his power to gain yards after contact make him a special player. Le’Veon produced consistent numbers despite being the main focus of opposing defenses each week.”
Congratulations, indeed, Le’Veon Bell. We are looking forward to seeing what you do in the post-season Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl against the TCU Horned Frogs.