Michigan State Football: 25 best players of the Mark Dantonio era

EAST LANSING, MI - OCTOBER 04: Trae Waynes /
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Le'Veon Bell, Michigan State Spartans
EAST LANSING, MI – AUGUST 31: Le’Veon Bell #24 of the Michigan State Spartans jumps over the attempted tackle of Jeremy Ioane #10 of the Boise State Broncos at Spartan Stadium on August, 2010 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
  • First-Team All-Big Ten (2012)
  • Semifinalist for Doak Walker Award (2012)
  • Honorable mention All-Big Ten (2011)
  • Sixth in MSU history in rushing touchdowns (33)
  • Seventh in MSU history in rushing yards (3,346)

Before he was dominating NFL defenses with his patient running style and shifty open-field moves, Le’Veon Bell was making college opponents look silly.

The rise to stardom for Bell was real, and almost sudden.

The former two-star was another one of those recruits who didn’t get much national love, but Mark Dantonio took a chance on him. He was a bigger back who was considered slow, but he contributed from day one. As a freshman, he rushed for 605 yards and eight touchdowns and then 948 yards and 13 touchdowns as a sophomore, splitting time with Edwin Baker and Larry Caper.

With the backfield all to himself as a junior, he was given as many carries as his body could handle, and then some. He finished with 1,793 yards and 12 touchdowns, earning first-round draft pick consideration, but he was selected in the second round by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Bell finished his career as an All-Big Ten First-Team member and sixth in MSU history in rushing touchdowns with 33 and seventh in rushing yards with 3,346.