2013 NFL DRAFT - Steelers Second Round Selection
Michigan State University Spartans
6-1 - 244
Groveport Madison High School
2nd Round – 48th Overall
Bell appeared in 40 games for Michigan State, starting his final 19 contests…Carried 671 times for 3,346 yards (4.99 avg.) and 33 touchdowns for the Spartans…Caught 78 passes for 531 yards (6.81 avg.) and one TD…Added 219 yards on 11 kickoff returns (19.91 avg.), 18 yards on three punt returns and completed his only pass attempt for 29 yards…Scored 204 points and 34 touchdowns…Touched the ball 763 times for 4,114 all-purpose yards, the ninth-best total in school history, and averaged 102.85 yards per game…His rushing attempts rank sixth in school history…His 3,346 rushing yards rank seventh in school annals…Bell’s 33 rushing touchdowns stand sixth on the MSU all-time record chart…His 34 total touchdowns are tied for fifth in school annals…In 19 starts, Bell rushed 477 times for 2,309 yards (4.84 avg.) and 19 touchdowns to average 121.53 yards per game…In three bowl games, Bell gained 206 yards on 53 carries (3.89 avg.)…Michigan State went 18-3 (.857) when Bell scored at least one rushing TD (2010: 5-0; 2011: 7-1; and 2012: 6-2).
Bell was named to the All-America Super Sleeper Team by The NFL Draft Report, a squad consisting of the most underrated player in college football at each position…Added All-America honorable mention from Sports Illustrated and received fourth-team accolades from Phil Steele…The consensus All-Big Ten Conference first-team choice and Doak Walker Award semifinalist was the recipient of the College Football Performance Awards Elite Running Back Trophy; winners of the award are selected exclusively based upon objective scientific rankings of the extent to which individual players increase the overall effectiveness of their teams…Voted Most Valuable Player (Governor's Award) by his teammates…Won the Big Ten rushing title, averaging 137.92 yards per game, the third-best mark in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision…Became the first Spartan to win the Big Ten overall rushing title since Tico Duckett in 1990…Totaled 1,793 rushing yards, the second-most in a season in MSU history and the fifth-most in the nation in 2012…Ranked first in the FBS in carries (382) the third-most in program history and fourth-most in the Big Ten record book…Ran for 12 touchdowns and scored 78 points…Totaled 32 receptions for 167 yards (5.22 avg.) with one TD…Added 46 kickoff-return yards on four attempts, 18 punt-return yards on three attempts and also completed a pass attempt for 29 yards (vs. Texas Christian)…Finished second in the conference and 14th in the nation with 155.69 all-purpose yards per game…His 2,024 all-purpose yards rank fourth on the school season-record chart…Became the 13th player in school history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season…Gained 922 of his 1,793 rushing yards (51.42 percent) after contact, which ranked first among all NCAA FBS running backs…Broke 16 tackles…Recorded eight 100-yard rushing games, the second-most by a Spartan in one season…One of just four players in the FBS in 2012 to record three 200-yard rushing games…Became just the second Spartan to record three 200-yard rushing games in a season…During the 2012 regular season, named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week three times - vs. Boise State; Eastern Michigan; Minnesota…The Columbus, Ohio, native produced the top single-game total in the NCAA FBS this season for carries (44 vs. Boise State) and eighth-most rushing yards (266 vs. Minnesota)…Carried 32 times for 133 yards vs. Northwestern…Gained 188 yards on 36 carries and scored two touchdowns vs. Nebraska…With 77 yards on 21 carries in MSU's 16-13 overtime victory at Wisconsin, eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards for the first time in his career, becoming the 13th running back (21 times overall occurrences) in Spartan history to record a 1,000-yard rushing season. His first career touchdown reception came on a 5-yard shovel pass from Andrew Maxwell with 1:08 left in the fourth quarter and sent the game into overtime…Rushed 29 times for 140 yards and one TD vs. Iowa…Rushed for a game-high 121 yards on 37 attempts in MSU's 31-27 win at Indiana. The 37 rushing attempts were the second-most in his career (44 vs. Boise State)…Set career highs for receptions (eight) and receiving yards (58) in a 17-16 loss to Ohio State…Earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors after rushing for 253 yards on 36 attempts with one TD vs. Eastern Michigan. His 253 yards mark the seventh-highest single-game rushing total in school history…Scored on first-half runs of one and seven yards as MSU gained a 24-0 halftime lead en route to a 41-7 win at Central Michigan…Named CBS Sports Heisman Player of the Week and Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for 210 yards on a career-best 44 carries vs. Boise State. His 210 rushing yards were the most by a Big Ten running back in a season opener since Purdue's Ralph Bolden in 2009 (234 vs. Toledo) and the most by a Spartan in an opener since T.J. Duckett in 2000 (219 vs. Marshall). He also had six catches for 55 yards vs. the Broncos…Rushed 35 times for a career-high 266 yards - the most by a Big Ten player this season – and a touchdown vs. Minnesota as the Spartans became bowl eligible for a school-record sixth consecutive season. Bell was named CFPA National Running Back of the Week and Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week for his career day vs. the Gophers. His 266 rushing yards are the sixth-highest single-game total in MSU history. He carried the ball eight consecutive plays for 51 yards and capped an 11-play, 57-yard drive with an eight-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter that iced the game for the Spartans. Accounted for a career-best 275 all-purpose yards - the ninth-best single-game total in MSU history – vs. Minnesota…Selected Offensive Player of the Game after accounting for 187 combined yards (rushing, passing and receiving) in the Spartans' 17-16 come-from-behind win over Texas Christian in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. He carried 32 times for 145 yards vs. the Horned Frogs with 107 of those rushing yards coming in the second half including a four-yard touchdown run that gave MSU its first lead at 14-13 with 7:00 left in the fourth quarter. His 32 rushing attempts and 145 rushing yards mark the fifth-highest single-game bowl totals in Spartan history. He became the first Spartan back to post a 100-yard rushing game in a bowl since Javon Ringer carried 21 times for 101 yards vs. Boston College in the 2007 Champs Sports Bowl. Bell also completed a 29-yard pass to TyQuan Hammock to set up MSU's first touchdown and caught two passes for 13 yards.
Bell was named All-Big Ten Conference honorable mention by the league’s coaches and media…College Football News selected him to their Sophomore All-America team (honorable mention) and he was the recipient of his team's Most Outstanding Underclass Back Award for offense…Led the Spartans and ranked eighth in the Big Ten in rushing with 948 yards on 182 carries (5.21 avg.)…Started the Spartans’ final six games at tailback…Led the team and ranked fifth in the Big Ten in rushing touchdowns with 13, finishing 11th on the school’s season-record chart…Had a team-best 10 20-yard rushing attempts…Ranked second on the squad with 1,246 all-purpose yards (948 rushing, 267 receiving, 31 kickreturn)…Finished third on the team with 35 receptions for 267 yards (7.63 avg.)…After entering the starting lineup, Bell carried 95 times for 516 yards (5.43 avg.) and seven touchdowns and 86.00 yards per game…Rushed for 48 yards on 17 carries, including touchdown runs of eight yards and one yard, in the triple-overtime win over Georgia in the 2012 Outback Bowl and added five receptions for 39 yards. His one-yard touchdown vs. the Bulldogs with 14 seconds left in the fourth quarter sent the game into overtime...Recorded his second 100-yard rushing game of the season in the Big Ten Championship Game vs. Wisconsin, collecting 106 yards on 18 carries, including a six-yard score…Ran for 86 yards, including a seven-yard touchdown, on 16 carries at Northwestern…Named Spartan Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for 112 yards on 20 carries, including a 25-yard score vs. Iowa and posted two catches for 49 yards…Selected Spartan Co-Offensive Player of the Week after accounting for a season-high 165 all-purpose yards vs.Minnesota…Scored on a one-yard and 35-yard run and posted 15 carries for 96 yards and five receptions for 38 yards vs. the Gophers...Posted 114 all-purpose yards vs. Wisconsin, 87 yards on 16 attempts and four catches for 27 yards…Earned Spartan Offensive Player of the Week honors after tying his career high with three rushing touchdowns while leading MSU with 81 yards on eight attempts vs. Central Michigan.
Bell earned Big Ten Conference All-Freshman honors from ESPN.com and Rivals.com and was a midseason addition to the Doak Walker Award Watch List…Appeared in all 13 games as a true freshman…Ranked second on the team in carries (107), rushing yards (605) and rushing touchdowns (eight)…Averaged 5.65 yards per carry…28 of his attempts resulted in either a first down or a score, including three 20-yard attempts…Added 11 receptions for 97 yards (8.82 avg.) and six kickoff returns for 142 yards (23.67 avg.) and compiled 844 all-purpose yards (64.92 yards per game).
Bell attended Madison (Groveport, Ohio) High School, where the lettered three times in football for head coach Tim Brown and also excelled in basketball and track and field…A teammate of former Michigan State and New York Jets safety Eric Smith, Bell first earned postseason honors as a sophomore as the All-Ohio Capital Conference second-team choice scored nine touchdowns with 789 rushing yards…The following season, he amassed 1,100 rushing yards with 13 TDs, to again earn All-OCC recognition…Bell’s senior campaign was his finest as he accounted for 1,750 all-purpose yards and 25 TDs…The Super Prep and Prep Star All-Midwest pick and first-team All-OCC pick carried 200 times for 1,333 yards (6.7 avg.) and 21 touchdowns …Bell rushed 30 times for a career-best 336 yards and four scores vs. Dublin Jerome and gained 228 yards and four TDs on 26 attempts vs. Marysville.
Sociology major…Son of Lisa A. Bell…Born 2/18/92 in Reynoldsburg, Ohio…Resides in Columbus, Ohio.
Running Back – Michigan State University Spartans
2nd Round – 48th Overall
What do you think about being a Steeler?
My heart dropped when I got the call. I’m so excited to get there and get ready to get to work. This is the happiest day of my life. No words can describe it.
Did you think this is where you would end up?
The craziest thing is I had no idea. I did not know where I would end up. There were a lot of teams that were talking to me. My mom always said that the Steelers are going to draft me and it’s crazy that it actually happened. It’s so crazy.
Re: Your pro day, dinner with Head Coach Mike Tomlin and what kind of impressions you came away with after that dinner:
He was just trying to get to know me as a person. We really didn’t talk that much football. He was just trying to get to know me as a person and the things that I like and the things that I didn’t like, what I do as a hobby. He was just really trying to get to know me as a person. He is a laid-back type of guy, just like myself. We bonded well together and there was a connection. I felt like he liked me a lot. I didn’t know he would draft me. I didn’t know what would happen at the time, but I’m just happy that he did and that everything turned out the way it did.
So, what are your hobbies?
I’m a laid-back type of guy. I don’t really go out or anything. I just like to stay in and watch TV or play video games. I’m more of that type of guy, just chilling with a couple of friends.
Do you think that you can come in here and start?
I’m going to come in and compete. I’m going to come in there and do the best that I possibly can. I’m going to come in and compete with the other backs and the other backs are going to compete with me. They’re going to try to make me better and I’m going to make them better at the same time. That’s all going to make the team better. I just want to go out there and compete.
You said your mom knew that the Steelers were going to pick you?
She didn’t know but she was saying that the Steelers were going to draft me.
Why did she think that?
I have no idea. She grew up a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, my whole family did. Especially when I had dinner with Mike Tomlin, that’s when she really started saying that the Steelers were going to draft me. I guess she just had a feeling.
For the Steelers fans that haven’t seen you play, how would you describe how you play?
I’m a balanced runner. I’m a bigger guy. I’m 230 pounds. I can go in there and get tough yardage and short yardage. A lot of people look at me like, “He’s just a short yardage back.” But I don’t look at myself like that. I can get to the outside and beat you with speed. I can catch the ball out of the backfield. I can pass protect. I can play special teams. I played on punt return and kick return in college. There’s a lot of things that I can do to bring value to the Steelers and that’s what I plan on doing.
They list you at 244 pounds. You were at 230. What are you right now?
I’m at 230 right now.
Is that the weight you want to play at here?
Yes, sir. I’ll play at 230 or 235, wherever the team wants me at and wherever the coaches want me at. That’s what I’ll play at.
When you had dinner with the team did they tell you a weight that would be good for you?
No, they asked me where I played at during the season. I told them at 240-plus. At the combine, I was 230 and they liked the weight I was at the combine. If I was somewhere in between there it would be fine with them. We’ll talk all that over once I get there.
Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley RE 2nd Round Pick Le’Veon Bell
Running Back – Michigan State University Spartans
2nd Round – 48th Overall
Todd Haley: We are really excited to have Le’Veon be a Pittsburgh Steeler. We think he’s a big back, number one, and a three-down back which is a big thing for us, a guy who can play first, second and third down. He has very good hands and catches the ball very well out of the backfield. He is a young kid that doesn’t have a lot of tread on the tire so to speak. He has a lot ahead of him. We are really excited to bring him in here and make him a part of the mix.
You have added two running backs today, was that a real big need for you?
With Rashard Mendenhall no longer here and with Chris Rainey no longer in the mix, it was a position that we needed to bring in competition. We have two totally different type guys with LaRod and Le’Veon. We are all excited. I think it puts us back in a place where we can have a chance to run the ball and throw the ball out of the backfield successfully.
Is he going to be a guy that needs to carry the ball a lot this year?
I don’t think that is a necessity, but when you do have guys that you feel like they can be the guy, which now we have a couple of in my opinion. On top of that we have really good competition again at the position. We have competitive-type guys that I think will blend well with the type of personalities they are.
Re: Immediate impact on this team:
I think running back is a position, probably more so than most, that you have a chance to come in and make an impact. Obviously there’s a lot of work ahead of him. He’s a young guy, but he’s coming from a pro-style offense. A lot of the runs will be very similar to the runs that he was running. So I expect him to get into the mix and be a factor.
What separated Bell from other running backs still left in the second round?
Without getting into the specifics, as the process went on it was pretty clear that this was the guy that we would be most excited about being available when it came to our pick. I think when you see the picks go in as quick as the last two that is usually a good sign from our end.
Was Bell your top-rated back?
In the end, he was. Without getting into specifics, there are a lot of different factors that go into that. He is a young guy that is big. With no disrespect, I drew some Eddie George physical traits to him because he is taller than what you would normally see. He is a good athlete. We love the fact that he catches the ball really well, and he still has that big back presence.
Eddie Lacey had those giant holes, whereas when you watched Bell it seemed like the exact opposite. Would you agree with that assessment?
It depends what tape you put on, but yes I think that Eddie probably had arguably the best offensive line in front of him as you watch the draft, and they have another two that will probably get taken here. I would think that were blocking for him, but he’s playing in the SEC. But we try to, and I know Kriby Wilson does this specifically, he tries to put on the roughest game, the games where the back isn’t necessarily getting those big holes, so you can see what he’s really capable of doing on his own. Because as we know in the NFL the holes are a lot smaller. This is a big guy that can play like a big back, and yet also can get outside some and catch the ball. So as far as we were concerned, three down, every down type back that is young and has a lot in front of him.
You mention young a couple times. How do you see him now, as opposed to what you think he can do?
I just think anytime you’re talking about a guy that’s 20 years old, when other guys are 23 and 24 coming out, that automatically gives him some upside when you start to plug in some of the physical traits that he has. That’s the only reason I stress that it’s a young guy. There’s a lot of development ahead of him physically and mentally, though he’s a mature guy that we were all really impressed by. Kevin and Mike and Kirby got up there to see him in person and we all met with him at the combine. Everybody came away impressed with him that he’s a mature guy for his age. So we’re excited that he’s a Pittsburgh Steeler.
Was getting a back more pressing than getting a receiver?
I think you know the way we do it around here. We’re not going to draft for need, which coach and Kevin stress all the time. We’re really excited about the player that was available and the fact that he happened to be a running back was a good thing.
When he weighed in at the combine, 230, you guys have him at 244. Is that a wish list or is that what his playing weight was during the season?
No, there were verified weights during the season. I think we might even have had him heavier during the season, some of our scouts that were in there. But I’m sure we’ll get him in here and [conditioning coordinator Garrett Giemont] and Mike will evaluate him, Kirb and myself and we’ll try to figure out what the best weight for him is, but again to me that’s positive, you got a guy who’s playing at 245 pounds that is capable of getting his weight down, whether it was to run or for whatever reason. Again, those are factors that we’ve discussed with him, but I think that’s a positive in my opinion. He clearly is a big back in both height and weight if he wants to be.
Did he come to the combine light to run faster?
Everybody is doing it. But again without getting into specifics, we had some conversations with him and I wouldn’t say it was necessary for him to run.
Stephen Jackson said he’s a back that reminds him of himself, would you agree with that comparison?
I didn’t hear that, but I would say that’s a good one coming from Stephen Jackson.
Bell has a lot of carries, does he get better as the game goes on? How is his ball security?
He’s real good with the football from a security standpoint and I do think that what you see is what you get. He looks like a workhorse back and I think those numbers indicate that he’s quite capable of carrying it a bunch. He’s not a guy that you’d shy away from giving it to him 30 times a game.