Student athlete profile: Shakir Bell
Published: Friday, August 31, 2012
Updated: Friday, August 31, 2012 11:08
After a successful run for the Sycamore football team last fall, Indiana State running back Shakir Bell, isn’t satisfied with the team’s progress just yet.
Bell graduated from Warren Central High School in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2010. He began playing football at the age of six with the strong encouragement of his mother. When it came time to extend his recreational football skills into division one athletics, Bell’s commitment to ISU was strong and unquestioned.
“I believed what coach Miles was telling me about changing the program and making history,” he said.
While the Sycamores have suffered a streak of losing seasons in the recent past, since Bell’s incoming class the program has had back to back winning seasons. This is no coincidence; the strides that ISU football has made did not come without the help of Bell.
Bell’s outstanding talent is seen in his record-breaking performances last fall. He put up 1,670 rushing yards, a single-season school record that led the nation. He also broke the school’s single-game rushing record with 256 yards and four touchdowns against Youngstown State.
Bell was the first Sycamore named to four All-American squads and the first sophomore of any university to attend the Walter Payton Award ceremony, in which he placed second.
“Being honored like that is just amazing,” said Bell. “But if anyone thinks that I’m satisfied, they’re sadly mistaken. If anything, I’ve got the biggest chip on my shoulder because I came in second place. I’m not a good second place guy at all.”
If the Sycamores put up another winning season, it will be their first three-peat since 1967-1969. Bell said this is why he and his teammates aren’t content with their progress thus far.
“We’re not at all satisfied with [the last two seasons], they’ve just been good,” he said. “We feel like we’re a great football team, and that’s not good enough for Indiana State football.”
Even so, ISU begins their season ranked 23rd in the nation in a recent Sports Network preseason poll. While the stakes and expectations are quite high for Bell and his teammates, they’re not paying attention to the statistics.
“Coach Miles preaches to us to not believe the hype,” he said. “When everything’s going good, people are going to hype your head up. When everything’s going bad, people are going to downgrade you. You can’t believe the hype rather as negative or positive.”
The Sycamores will head to Indiana University for the season opener against the Hoosiers this Saturday – a game Bell said he and his teammates have been preparing for since the end of last season; the game is also an opportunity for some players to show the Hoosier coaching staff what they’ve missed out on.
“None of us here have gotten offers from IU. We’re just going to go there Saturday and we’re going to prove how they looked over a lot of great players,” he said.
However, after a long off-season and a lot of training, Bell said the fact that the Hoosiers are a Big 10, D-1 program on the Big Ten network is just another load of hype.
“We’ve got to attack it like it’s any other game. We can’t get lost in the moment,” he said.
Although Saturday’s game is crucial, Bell said the Sycamores are looking to put up wins throughout the rest of the season to add to their improvements thus far.
Even after personal best performances last fall, Bell isn’t content with what he’s done during his two years as a Sycamore. Crediting his teammates and offensive line, he hopes his third will be even more successful.
“My guys are just hungry to show that our rushing attack isn’t going anywhere,” he said.
However, the ultimate goal for Bell is to return to the Walter Payton Award ceremony, this time in 1st place.
“I want to bring it back for my O-lineman to look at and say, ‘we won it as a group,’” he said.