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Purdue Football Player Countdown: #3 David Bell

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What a debut for the freshman last season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 23 Purdue at Wisconsin Photo by Lawrence Iles/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We knew today’s guy was going to be good, but we didn’t know how good.

David Bell - So.

Indianapolis, IN (Warren Central HS)

6’2”, 205 pounds

Wide Receiver

2020 Projection: Starter at Wide Receiver

I think we actually undersell what Bell did last season because of what Rondale Moore did the previous year. Bell matched Moore by being the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year and being Freshman of the Week 4 times. He finished the season with 86 receptions for 1,035 yards and 7 touchdowns, which are fantastic numbers for any receiver, let alone a true freshman. He also had a rushing touchdown, which was the game-winning score against Nebraska. It really puts into perspective what Rondale did because these numbers still were decently far behind him, but they were excellent in their own right.

Bell’s year was only the 14th season in school history where a player had at least 1,000 receiving yards. If and when football returns he can become only the second player to have multiple thousand yard seasons, joining John Standeford. The visions we had of Bell and Moore terrorizing secondaries together is one of the more cruel football-related losses due to this damn pandemic.

Bell even took a while to get going. His first and only catch in his season debut was a 49 yard TD against Nevada. He had four catches for 82 yards against Vanderbilt, as that was really the only game we got to see the Bell-Moore duo causing true chaos together. They combined for more than 300 yards receiving in that game.

His first monster game was against Minnesota, where he had 8 catches for 114 yards. Against Maryland he had a 9-138-2 game. At Iowa he caught an impressive 13 passes for 197 yards and a score. He was over 100 yards receiving with a touchdown in each of the final three games of the season, catching a whopping 35 passes against Northwestern, Wisconsin, and Indiana.

I think what stands out in the highlight reel above is that he had so many contested receptions on the season. A number of these were jump balls thrown up by the quarterback that he just went up and beat a defender in the air. Rondale was great about catching the ball with space and making people miss. Bell is great at adjusting to the ball in the air and making the difficult catch look easy.

Bell has All-American potential. If he stays healthy he can leave Purdue as its most decorated receiver of all-time. We also cannot forget that he helped Warren Central to an undefeated 32-0 state champion in basketball his junior year, which included him hitting the game-winner against Romeo Langford in the semi-state.

The kid is a winner. He set foot on a basketball court 32 times and a football field 14 times between November 22nd, 2017 and November 23rd, 2018. He did not lose a single one of those games and took home a state championship in both sports. Warren Central also did not lose a basketball game before he left midway through his senior season to enroll early at Purdue, as they continued their 32-game winning streak from the previous season and added another 14 games to it.