TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana State senior Shakir Bell is one of 20 FCS student-athletes nationally to be named to the 2013 Walter Payton Award Watch List. The Walter Payton Award is given annually to the top offensive player in FCS Football.
This marks the third consecutive season in which Bell has appeared on The Walter Payton Award Watch List. The running back from Indianapolis enters the 2013 campaign with 3,794 rushing yards for his career which is third on the Sycamore all-time list. He needs just 542 yards on the ground during his senior campaign to become Indiana State’s all-time leading rusher and eclipse the total of 4,335 yards set by Vincent Allen from 1973-77.
Bell finished tied for second in the voting for the award 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.
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-America 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 MVFC Offensive Player Of The Year balloting. 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 in ISU history) and 11 TDs, with a long rush of 64 yards, averaging 5.5 yards per rush and 134.1 yards per game. He set the MVFC single-game rushing record with 349 yards on the ground against Drake and was named MVFC and National Offensive Player Of The Week following that game.
Bell finished second in the league in rushing yards per game and sixth nationally (134.1 rushing yards per game) while his 134.1 yards of total offense per game ranked 10th in the MVFC. He averaged 6.55 points per game, which was sixth in the MVFC and tied for 77th nationally while his 147.0 all-purpose yards per game were second in the league and 17th in FCS.
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.
Indiana State begins preseason practice Aug. 1 with the opener coming at 7 p.m. Aug. 29 against Indiana in a game that will be televised nationally on the Big Ten Network.