2013 NFL Draft: Michigan State RB Le’Veon Bell will make the jump to the NFL

Michigan State Spartans running back Le’Veon Bell (24) scores a 4 yard touchdown during the second half against the TCU Horned Frogs during the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium. Michigan State beat TCU 17-16. (Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports)

Le’Veon Bell spent a lot of time during his junior season at Michigan State putting defenders on their backs, and the Spartans’ come-from-behind, one point win over the TCU Horned Frogs in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl was no different.

However, putting big, strong and fast defenders on their backs means smashing into them at full speed. Bell finished fifth nationally with 1,793 yards on the season, but he led the country in carries with a whopping 382 carries. Compare that to the 356 times Doak Walker Award winner Montee Ball of Wisconsin carried the football.

Running backs generally suffer a far shorter NFL lifespan than players at other positions, due to the amount of hits they take, week in and week out.

Thus, because Bell has already taken so many hits, and his stock will never be higher, Sparty’s star runner has declared himself eligible for the NFL Draft after his junior season, according to The Only Colors.

The 6-foot-2, 244-pound bruising back is a load to take down, but also nimble and quicker on his feet than his massive frame would suggest. He is currently seen as a top 5 running back in a class that does not seem to have much to offer past Ball, Oregon star Kenjon Barner, Nevada’s Stefphon Jefferson and even Marcus Lattimore, the former South Carolina currently rehabbing from a gruesome knee injury.

As for Michigan State, which struggled offensively in 2012 even with Bell in the backfield, Nick Hill, Nick Tompkins, Jeremy Langford, Gerald Holmes and R.J. Shelton will be expected to compete for Bell’s former role as the team’s premier rusher.

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