Kyle Bell has a luxury a lot of football players would kill for.
The star running back can’t pinpoint an all-time high point in his football career. There are just too many moments to choose from.
It might have been when he was named the Mountain West Conference Preseason Offensive Player of the Year by national sports magazine Lindy’s. Or it could have been setting the CSU rushing record for a sophomore with 1,288 yards.
Perhaps the moment came three years ago, 60 miles from Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium, before anyone in Utah or Texas had heard of him.
As a senior at Weld Central High School, Bell became Colorado’s all-time leading prep rusher, supplanting former USC standout and current Tennessee Titan LenDale White.
It may seem like a lifetime ago now, but Bell is just two seasons removed from being just another name on the roster, a redshirt freshman waiting for his shot.
Nowadays, Bell comfortably wears a bull’s-eye on the back of his prestigious No. 34 game jersey.
“That’s to be expected,” Bell said. “When you put up those kind of numbers, teams know what I’m capable of, and what I’m gonna bring.”
Bell knows opponents will develop defensive schemes that revolve around stopping him and his potent rushing attack. He also expects to step to the forefront of the Rams locker room.
“I see myself being more of a vocal leader (this year),” Bell said. “When times get tough, guys need leaders. It takes those mentally tough guys to be a vocal leader, and that’s what I feel I can do.”
As the son of Dave Bell, Weld Central’s previous rushing record holder, Kyle has always had high expectations for himself.
“My goal is to work hard and try to be the best,” he said. “Every year I try to get better.”
Many, including Kyle’s father, believe the Rams will only go as far as Bell’s sturdy legs will take them.
“I think teams will really try to concentrate on stopping Kyle,” Dave Bell said. “He’s used to that, he’s had a bull’s-eye on his back since his freshman year (in high school). He’s the right person for the Rams scheme, and I think he will do well.”
One of Bell’s former high school football coaches, Mike Brown, can attest to the importance of utilizing Bell’s unique talents.
“Kyle touched the ball 50 percent of the time in our offense,” Brown said. “That shows durability. He’s the type of back that can wear teams down physically. He’s a third and fourth quarter kind of guy.”
During his sophomore campaign, Bell gave Ram fans a preview of the kind of back he can be with 25 to 30 carries a game.
“My style of running comes straight at you,” Bell said. “I’m not going to get outside and break a lot of 70- to 80-yard runs. I’m going to keep coming and wear the defense down. I feel like that’s where I do my best.”
The transition to college ball has been more trying than some might have expected for Colorado’s high school rushing king.
“It’s not as easy as I thought it (would be),” Bell now recalls. “This is D-I football, and it’s gonna be a challenge every week. It’s not like high school.”
Expectations for Bell and the Rams will be lofty this year. His father, however, is not buying into the hype.
“You can get all the accolades in the world, but until he goes out there and proves it, it puts a lot of pressure on him, and I just think he’s trying to be the best player he can,” Dave Bell said.
Ram football fans across the state, including former Weld Central head coach Matt Sloan, are singing Bell’s praises in the hopes that he will help return the football program to its past glory days.
“He is a fine young man,” Sloan said, “and one hell of a football player.”
Staff writer Matt Planalp can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kyle Bell by the numbers
88.2 – The percent of the Rams rushing yards last season that were Bell’s
750 – The number of dollars Bell went for at a bachelor auction last November
1288 – The number of yards Bell rushed for last season, the most by a sophomore in school history
8248 – The number of yards Bell rushed for in his seasons at Weld Central High School