Nor is it a secret that the Spartans, at this moment, aren’t ready to fill his shoes in the backfield. But that’s what spring football and recruiting is all about. Either Mark Dantonio finds Bell’s replacement(s) in spring ball or MSU strengthens its recruiting efforts to sign a bluechipper at that spot.
But with Bell gone, Dantonio’s staff can tell some of the best graduating running backs in the Midwest and perhaps across the country that a starting spot could be waiting for them at Michigan State.
They wouldn’t be lying either.
Bell gained 145 yards on 32 carries in Michigan’s State’s 17-16 win over TCU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. He even completed a pass.
There was nothing else for Bell to accomplish by coming back to East Lansing.
“It was the best game I think I’ve ever seen him play,” quarterback Andrew Maxwell said after the Minnesota game. “He did everything that was asked of him. What we asked him to do was really carry the ball and pound the rock and take some time off the clock. He had the hot hand, and the offensive line was physically dominant up front. You’ve got to go with what’s working.”
“It’s a great accomplishment for me, but at the end of the day it’s a total team effort. I can’t do it without the offensive line, receivers against the safeties, (Andrew) Maxwell making the right choice at the line of scrimmage, and of course the coaches calling the plays and putting trust in me,” Bell said. “It’s a total team effort.”
It might be a team effort but like the Spartans showed in Maxwell’s failure to adequately replace quarterback Kirk Cousins, the loss of one person can make a critical difference the following year.
Michigan State is going to struggle without Bell, big-time.