We continue to roll out, update, tweak, edit and revisit our projections and previews prior to your fantasy draft. And while doing so we're going to occasionally take a more-detailed look at some of the nation's more intriguing stars for 2012.
The players featured over the next month or so may not be the top player at their respective positions, but they'll be ones that caused the most discussion around our roundtable or appear poised for a breakout or letdown campaign.
Breakdowns of college football's top offensive stars can of course be found in the CFFInsider.com 2012 Draft Kit.
Le'Veon Bell, Running Back, Michigan State
2012 Position Rank: 8th, 5th in BCS-only leagues
2012 Draft Kit Preview:
Anyone who saw Le'Veon Bell down the stretch last season was watching one hell of a back, even if the numbers were not jaw-dropping. He was running through people, around people and brushing would-be tacklers aside with a devastating stiff-arm. He even had a great Dennis Savard spin-o-rama going and was catching passes out of the backfield. He was 230 lbs. of complete back getting stronger as the season wore on; and with the departure of Edwin Baker to the NFL, we may be looking at a Spartan workhorse in the 2008 Javon Ringer mold. Nick Hill and maybe even freshman Nick Tompkins will get chances to serve as the change-of-pace, and versatile Larry Caper has earned his share of 3rd down snaps. But this offense will run through Le'Veon Bell, especially with an unproven Andrew Maxwell taking over at signal caller. Bell touched it 217 times from scrimmage last season...we could be talking about 300 in 2012.
Bell is an interesting prospect heading into 2012. The Ohio native wasn't even an afterthought among most recruitniks when he signed on the Green and White line. Then he exploded out of the gate as a true freshie in 2010, averaging about 5.5 per pop and scoring eight times until injuries derailed much of his second half.
2011 saw Bell assume the lead back role as then-starter Edwin Baker caught a case of fumbleitis, and Bell responded with over 1,200 yards from scrimmage and 13 scores. Still, 2011 saw Bell only post over 100 yards rushing in two contests. So why the lofty expectations?
2010 saw him enter camp as that 2-star Bell kid, and 2011 began as second-fiddle to Baker. And yet he's managed to cross the goal line 21 times before his junior season. We're envisioning what will happen with clear-cut #1 back carries.
Bell is all of 6-2 and 230 lbs., and he has what the old timers call "football speed." This means he won't wow you on the stopwatch, but fast defenders seem to have a hard time catching him from behind.
And while this doesn't matter much to fantasy folk, Bell is a complete back, willing to lay a blitzing linebacker on his ass and always aware of where he needs to be on pass protection; thus, there's little reason to take him off the field on certain downs.
Of course you remember the Cousins-Nichol Hail Mary. However that play doesn't happen if Bell doesn't flare out of the backfield a minute earlier and make a key 3rd down grab.
Is Le'Veon Bell a sure thing? Of course not, but neither are most backs in our Draft Kit's Top Ten. This is, in many ways, a year of transition at the RB spot. And I'll take my chances on Bell with an improved offensive line and a new quarterback that will need a horse when things get tough.