Shakir Bell already on the way to an award-winning year
Published: Thursday, September 12, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 12, 2013 21:09
The Sports Network recognized Indiana State senior Shakir Bell as one of 20 Football Championship Subdivision student-athletes nationally to be named to the 2013 Walter Payton Award Watch List as of July 8.
The Walter Payton Award is given annually to the top offensive player in Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Football.
This marks the third consecutive season in which Bell has appeared on The Walter Payton Award Watch List.
Bell finished tied for second in the voting back in 2011 when he became the first Indiana State Sycamore to be invited to the FCS Awards Presentation in Frisco, Texas.
Last season, Bell finished 12th overall and was the second leading vote getter representing the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
The 2013 Walter Payton Award Watch List is full of Missouri Valley representation as Bell is joined by North Dakota State Quarterback Brock Jensen, Northern Iowa Running Back David Johnson, as well as, South Dakota State Running Back Zach Zenner.
The Missouri Valley Football Conference leads the nation with four honorees on the initial watch list.
Bell has already earned First Team Preseason All-America honors from The Sports Network this summer and last season he was named to the Associated Press All-American Third Team after picking up four different first team honors in 2011.
He was named First Team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2012 and finished third in the Missouri Valley Offensive Player Of The Year balloting.
He was also named to The Sports Network FCS All-American Team last year and is the first Sycamore to earn back-to-back All-America honors since Richard Harris did it in 2000 and 2001.
Bell was named the Missouri Valley Football Conference Offensive Player Of The Year in 2011.
Bell finished as the Sycamores’ leading rusher in 2012 with 269 attempts for 1,475 yards [third-best ever at Indiana State] and 11 touchdowns, with a long rush of 64 yards, averaging 5.5 yards per rush and 134.1 yards per game.
He set the Missouri Valley single-game rushing record with 349 yards on the ground against Drake and was named Missouri Valley and National Offensive Player Of The Week following that game.
He averaged 6.55 points per game, which was sixth in the Missouri Valley and tied for 77th nationally while his 147.0 all purpose yards per game was second in the league and 17th in the Football Championship Subdivision.
He enters the 2013 campaign with 3,794 rushing yards for his career, third on the Sycamore all-time list, and needs only 542 yards on the ground this year to become Indiana State’s all-time leading rusher, ousting Vincent Allen’s record of 4,335 yards during his 1973-77 career.
Bell’s rushing yards put him 11th in the history of the Missouri Valley Football Conference and he needs 953 to top Herb Donaldson’s record of 4,746 set from 2005-08 at Western Illinois.
Past winners of the FCS’ most coveted award include Steve McNair, Tony Romo, Brian Westbrook, Brian Finneran, John Friesz and Armanti Edwards, the only two-time recipient.
The Payton Award Watch List can undergo revision during the 2013 season. Ballots will be sent to a panel of about 175 sports information.