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MSU football: Le’Veon Bell heading to pros

Days after it surfaced that Michigan State junior running back Le’Veon Bell was talking with agents, it appears he’s made the decision to turn pro.

Bell confirmed the decision on his Twitter account.

“As hard as it was to leave spartan nation, it was even harder to pass on such a great opportunity I have in front of me!” he wrote.

ESPN college football reporter Joe Schad reported this morning that Bell will skip his senior season to enter the NFL Draft.

Bell was the workhorse for the Spartans this season, carrying the ball 382 times for 1,793 yards and 12 touchdowns. His 1,793 yards were the second most in a single-season in school history, trailing Lorenzo White’s total of 2,066 in 1985. His rushing attempts were the third most in a season in school history.

The 6-foot-2, 237-pound Bell, who was named the national running back of the year by the College Football Performance Awards, is rated the No. 2 back in the draft by ESPN Scouts Inc.

“I love his versatility, and I think that’s where he’s going to be an intriguing player. I hope he gets with a team that is willing to think creatively with him,” ESPN’s Todd McShay said.
“… He has unique traits in that there are very few guys that are 6’2″ and 250 pounds that run routes, understand the passing game, and catch the ball the way he does. So I’m really going to be interested to see where that value is. He doesn’t have great speed, and you see it. When he goes to accelerate up the field, it’s not fast enough. So I don’t know that he’ll be a full-time, great starting running back in the NFL, but I think he contributes and I think there is a lot of value there as well.”

Here is an excerpt from Solari’s story in November about Bell and the NFL draft.

Once a forgotten recruit, Bell has turned heads this season with  1,249 yards and 10 touchdowns through 10 games.
“If the opportunity presents itself, I might take a look into it. But right now, I’m not paying too much attention to it,” the Groveport, Ohio, native said. “As soon as (TV analysts) start talking about NFL and draft, then I’m not really paying attention to it. I’m not buying into it – not yet, not right now anyway. At the end of the season, I might take a look at it, but not right now.”
Scouts are looking at Bell, though. They see a big-bodied running back in the Eric Dickerson-mold who can take the punishment of opposing defenders. But they also notice he lacks breakaway speed while carrying a heavy load for MSU’s offense, already up to 283 carries on the season.
Running backs generally have the shortest lifespan among NFL careers, which could influence Bell’s decision. (ESPN’s Mel) Kiper thinks he would be a second- or third-round pick right now, though ESPN ranks Bell as the second-best running draft in the class should he enter.
“He’s an all-around complete player for the most part,” Kiper said.
His ESPN partner (Todd) McShay labeled Bell as an “intriguing player” because of his potential for versatility in the running and passing games, though he remains unsure if he’ll become “a full-time, great starting running back in the NFL.”
“I hope he gets with a team that is willing to think creatively with him,” McShay said. “Flex him out, move him around almost as a unique hybrid, if you will. A guy that can be your back and pound it inside but you move him in the slot or motion him out and allow him to get involved as a pass catcher.”
Two, potentially three games remain in MSU’s season, which likely means none of the three will make their determination until at least January. Bell said there is a sense of pride when he does hear his name mentioned in draft talks.
“It lets me know that all the hard work and dedication I’ve had up until this point has paid off,” he said. “If the opportunity’s going to be there, it would be a great accomplishment for me to actually enter and get drafted. But I’m not really paying attention to it, and I’m not buying into it.”

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14 Responses to MSU football: Le’Veon Bell heading to pros

  1. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Bad news comes in threes, one more shoe to drop.

  2. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    And Dion Sims is gone, too. With his injuries and “other issues”, it seems like we never got to know this Manimal, best wishes to both of them.

    TMZ-like-espn is just a sound bite scrounging huckster with obvious bias. As far as they are concerned the Crock and “Michigan Man” were upsets of the first magnitude, there must have been a pole shift. Anyone think these loses will affect TMZ’s attempt at perception promotion? We wouldn’t want facts to confuse the issue.

  3. avatar WildSpartanFan says:

    Best wishes to all the departing Spartans. It has been a real pleasure and joy watching your game playing develop over the past few years.

    GO GREEN!

  4. avatar ScaTr says:

    Use those open scholarships on OL help…JUCO if necessary. The current group (even once the injured get back) is not talented enough to overcome the loss at skill positions next year.

  5. avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

    Yep I totally understand why these kids leave early, earn money or have to pay money, it’s pretty simple really.

  6. avatar Chris Solari says:

    Before we go any further, here’s the stuff from November on Will Gholston.
    —-
    Defensive end Gholston used to look at draft predictions and analyses. He even, perhaps sarcastically, called it “fun reading everybody else’s opinions.”
    Gholston was one of the most talked-about players in the country after his dominating Outback Bowl performance against Georgia, climbing into the first round on some early 2013 mock draft boards. But he now insists that he doesn’t even think about the NFL – “it’s in one ear and out the other ear,” he says.
    “When I read an article that (defensive coordinator Pat) Narduzzi posted, I stopped reading the articles,” Gholston said. “I’d rather not talk about it, but you could look it up, though. It wasn’t that good.”
    He’s also as polarizing a prospect as they come.
    At 6-foot-7 and 280 pounds, Gholston’s size, strength and ability to penetrate opposing backfields are tantalizing to NFL scouts. However, the perception is that his stock is slipping – he only has two sacks and 40 tackles, and some feel he takes himself out of plays too often.
    Longtime ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said this week that Gholston is probably a second-rounder at best because, “I don’t think he closes quite as quickly as I would like at times.”
    (CBSSports.com’s Dane) Brugler pointed to inconsistencies in technique and positional discipline and the number of penalties Gholston takes as negatives. But he also says NFL scouts compare Gholston similarly to former defensive linemate Jerel Worthy – he left a year early and ended up as a second-round pick of the Green Bay Packers in April.
    “He’s so strong from head to toe,” Brugler said of Gholston, “that I honestly think he could make a tackle with his pinkie finger.”
    ESPN’s Todd McShay recently called Gholston “a little bit disappointing” and said another year in college could push him back into those first-round projections. McShay said to do that, Gholston must show more “commitment and doing all the all of the right things off the field” to become a more impactful leader.
    “But I think if he decides he wants to play, and he wants to commit to being a great NFL player,” McShay added, “he’s got a chance to make an impact at the next level.”
    —-
    Here’s what Dane Brugler just tweeted on Gholston: “DE Gholston will be heavily debated for several reasons, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up in the late 1st round based on potential”

  7. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    Another Duh blog by Cheese-it (Grahm Cracker Couch)

    “First few Big Ten basketball games demonstrate depth of league, perils of life on the road”

    Why is it that little minds take so long to grasp irrefutable truths? It’s only been this way in the B1G for forever. Maybe the MAC is different.

    • avatar Spartan 81 says:

      He posted once that the MAC gave him better access to Coaches than MSU.

      • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

        MAC coaches are like every other manager of a small, small business. Any PR is good PR. When you get the be a Corporation size business, you have to gage who you talk to by their trustworthiness. and Cracker has proven more than once that he is NOT trustworthy; ergo they don’t want him around. Rexrode has no such problem.

  8. avatar The Tanner says:

    Mel Kipers got the low-down baby !!!

    The Tanner knew Sim and Bell leaving baby !!!

    The Tanner watch Antanos and pucksters baby !!!

  9. avatar dmbtierney says:

    I personally think all three will be drafted higher than most people think. After being tested at all the combines, I feel most NFL teams will leave with a deeper appreciation for the three.

    All three have the kinds of bodies NFL teams covet. I predict right now that Bell will go higher than Mr. Bell from Wisconsin.

    • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

      Yea, I agree with you, his supposed TD record was accumulated against the likes of North Dakota when Bluimia ran the score up. As he did in the RB when it was on the line, not so much

  10. avatar Chris Solari says:

    Released quotes out of MSU on two of the NFL-bound players

    MARK DANTONIO ON TE DION SIMS
    “Despite missing nearly three full games, Dion Sims still earned second-team All-Big Ten honors, so that says something about his production. He’s a big target with great hands. With his combination of size and power, Dion is difficult to bring down, so he gains a lot of yards after the catch. He’s also a much improved run-blocker.

    “Although we’ll miss Dion in our offense next season, he felt the timing was right and we wish him all the best in his future. Since returning to Michigan State, our offensive system has helped develop two tight ends that are currently playing in the NFL, in Kellen Davis (Chicago Bears) and Garrett Celek (San Francisco 49ers), so there’s a proven track record of our players having success at his position at the next level.”

    DION SIMS

    “After talking things over with my family and some of my teammates, I decided the timing was right to make the move because I believe that I’m ready to play at the next level.

    “I think I can impress the pro scouts with my end-line blocking and provide a big target over the middle. With my size and athleticism, I can create mismatches in the passing game against linebackers and safeties.

    “Coach Dantonio has built a great football program at Michigan State. He is a great coach and an even better person. Coach D has a solid nucleus of players returning, plus he’ll bring in a talented recruiting class. He also has surrounded himself with great coaches and they’ll develop a plan to get the job done next season.”

    DANTONIO ON LE’VEON BELL
    “Le’Veon Bell established himself as a running back who could carry the load, as he carried the ball over 380 times this season for us. Although he was the Big Ten’s leading rusher following the regular season, it was his physical durability that was most impressive.

    “As a 20-year-old, Le’Veon faced an extremely difficult decision. While I do believe there was both personal and program value in Le’Veon returning for his senior season, I acknowledge the difficult choice he had to make.”

    LE’VEON BELL

    “This was the hardest decision of my life. It’s difficult to leave my teammates and coaches as well as Spartan Nation, but I couldn’t pass on pursuing my dream and the opportunity to change my mom’s life.

    “I couldn’t have written a better script for my final game in a Spartan uniform, coming back from a 13-0 deficit against TCU to win in the final minute. I ran the ball well against a great TCU defense, but the most important thing was getting the ‘W.’ It was exciting to celebrate with my teammates one last time and leave on that note.

    “Although I’m leaving, Michigan State still has some capable running backs returning, in Nick Hill and Jeremy Langford. Those guys will be running behind a talented and experienced offensive line. Nick and Jeremy are both tough, talented athletes and their time is now.”

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