TERRE HAUTE — If college football worked the way social media does, Indiana State running back Shakir Bell would be trending nationwide.
Bell’s 349-yard rushing performance in ISU’s 27-10 football victory over Drake last Saturday has garnered Bell plenty of coast-to-coast attention.
For the second season in a row, Bell earned The Sports Network’s National Offense Player of the Week honors for the Football Championship Subdivision. Last year, Bell shared the award after his 256-yard school-record setting game against Youngstown State.
This time, Bell has the honor to himself. Bell’s 349-yard rushing performance was the eighth-best in FCS history, which dates to the early 1980s.
While Bell earns the hardware, per usual, he spreads the credit around to his teammates.
“The records that we set, and I say it all the time, it’s records we set, I couldn’t be prouder of my guys. I’m proud of my offensive line and all of the guys who blocked downfield, the wide receivers and those guys too,” Bell said Saturday.
Bell is also starting to receive attention on the NFL Draft front. He was mentioned in an ESPN NFL Draft-related column on Monday. Bell, a junior, would be draft-eligible in 2013 if he elected to leave ISU early and declare for the draft.
On Sunday, Bell was named Missouri Valley Football Conference Player of the Week. It’s the third time Bell has earned the honor.
ISU also made its debut in the FCS coaches’ poll as it is ranked 25th. ISU has been ranked in The Sports Network’s media/sports information director’s poll from the beginning of the season. ISU remained 22nd in the poll released Monday.
ISU is one of five MVFC teams ranked in the TSN poll. North Dakota State is top-ranked, Youngstown State is 4th, Northern Iowa is 8th and Illinois State is 15th.
South Dakota State, which is receiving votes, will visit Memorial Stadium on Saturday in ISU’s next contest.
* Thompson update — Drake linebacker Alex Thompson, who was hospitalized after he was hit by ISU tight end Myles Walker during last Saturday’s opening kickoff, has been released and has returned to Drake’s Des Moines, Iowa campus.
According to Drake’s sports information department, Thompson had a disc pushed under his c3 vertebrae and it caused him numbness. He is in a neck brace, but is walking. Thompson spoke to his Drake teammates on Monday.