Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Is Le'Veon Bell an All-American?

Le’Veon Bell is a big part of what the Michigan State offense has done this year.
His value to the Spartans is obviously high.
But, just where does Bell sit amongst running backs in the national picture?
Early in the season, Bell was being mentioned as an All-American candidate.
Phil Steele actually listed him as a midseason First Team All-American.
Bell currently ranks ninth in the nation in total rushing yards (1,249) and 12th in rushing yards per game (124.9).
But, of any players with over 1,000 yards rushing this season, Bell has the second-most carries (283) and is last in yards per carry (4.4).
I would credit his low yards per carry to the injuries to the offensive line for Michigan State. Bell doesn’t seem to get much help in terms of big running lanes being opened for him.
A lot is being asked of Bell. In each game that he has rushed for over 100 yards this season, it has taken a minimum of 29 carries to do it.
Bell’s early-season hype has certainly died down. That is in part due to Michigan State’s struggles as a team and in part due to his production lowering a little bit.
His top two rushing performances were in the first four games of the season.
His pass catching production has dropped significantly. Bell has just nine receptions for 20 yards over his last five games. He had 20 catches for 133 yards in the first five games of the season.
Bell has also yet to have that marquee play to lift Michigan State to a win since the victory over Boise State. Against the Broncos, Bell looked like a monster and played like one too. We haven’t really seen that since.
Bell has picked up the yards, but it has been in short chunks. When given the opportunity to really make the big play late, it seems Bell hasn’t done it. The loss to Michigan comes to mind when he had the chance to score a touchdown in the fourth quarter but couldn’t get that last yard needed.
Again, it’s hard to criticize Bell too much because he has taken on a giant work load already this season.
He is a talented back and a big contributor for the Spartans, but I don’t feel he is at the All-American level.
If Bell elects to return for a senior season, he will be an All-American candidate, but he will need to lead the Spartans to better than a .500 record.

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