Mark Dantonio Proves "THE STARS" Wrong with Another High Impact Player: Le'Veon Bell

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Bell may not have got the love from some analysts as others, but he will get the most important thing and that is playing time.  Photo courtesy of MSU SID.

Bell may not have got the love from some analysts as others, but he will get the most important thing and that is playing time. Photo courtesy of MSU SID.

Last season’s freshman tailbacks provided Spartan fans a great deal of excitement. There was a lot of speculation about who would get the bulk of the carries. Through all of the tailback changes last season (and there were a lot of them), Larry Caper and Edwin Baker showed everyone why they were the tailback-tandem of the future.


Fast-forward to the fall of 2010 and Michigan State has a very nice stable of running backs. Unlike last season, there is some certainty with this group. There is also some anticipation heading into September 4th. There are two more dynamic freshman running backs Le’Veon Bell and Nick Hill. Hill was the higher rated prospect known for his quick step and ability to shake loose from would be tacklers. Bell on the other hand was unranked and unheralded. One these freshmen has been turning some heads. 


Le’Veon Bell was virtually unknown when he committed to Michigan State. If you read or listened to all of the ‘experts,’ the opinions ranged from… well he helps fill out the roster… or he will likely be moved to fullback… or this kid is only a two star, what was Dantonio thinking? Well according to Jim Tressel, he must have been using his noggin. Coach Tressel once said that Mark Dantonio is the best evaluator of talent he has ever seen at the college level. Further cementing this proclamation, Le’Veon Bell is firmly in the mix as a true freshman.


Le’Veon enrolled early at MSU to participate in spring practice. Much to everyone’s surprise he was the second tailback taken behind Larry Caper in the Green and White game this past spring. At 6’2” and more than 230 pounds, Bell is not only big, he is powerful and apparently pretty fast. Some have suggested that Bell will be relegated to short yardage and goal line duty. If he is good enough to be mentioned in the company of Baker and Caper, he is good enough to carry the ball anywhere on the field.


Running backs take a beating. You cannot have too many good running backs. At some point during a season, a running back’s body is going to get beat up. Caper and Baker are a formidable tandem. Caper, Baker and Bell are going to be an awesome trio. At some point this season as the nicks and dings take there toll, all of these guys will be asked to share the load. Bell has the makings of a star. He has the physical tools to be special.


There is a lesson in all of this. Throw out the stars. Within the ‘star’ ranking system, a kid’s heart, determination and character don’t get listed with his forty-time or bench press. There will be a number of kids every year that prove the analysts wrong. A couple years ago that was Keyshawn Martin, the year before that it was Joel Foreman. This year it will be Le’Veon Bell’s turn to make the recruiting astronomers look amateur.


I trust the guys who have to coach them. I trust the guys whose careers hang in the balance of that player and the guys with a track record of success in evaluating college talent.