The Best of the B1G: #15 Kenny Bell

b1g_icon#80 Kenny Bell
School: Nebraska
Position: Wide Receiver
Class: Junior
Hometown: Boulder, Colorado
Height: 6-1
Weight: 185 lbs.

Why He’s Important to Nebraska’s Success: Kenny Bell is one of the most dynamic wide receivers in the Big 10 and can give a defense fits. Combined with quarterback Taylor Martinez and running back Ameer Abdullah, this trio makes up one of the most potent offenses in the Big 10. Since he’s surrounded by two other offensive threats, Bell becomes an even more dangerous player.

Bell has been the leading receiver for the Cornhuskers the last two seasons, leading the team in receiving yards, receptions and touchdown catches. In 2011, Bell caught 32 passes for 461 yards and three touchdown passes. He also ran the ball three times for 100 yards and one touchdown. Last season, Bell had a breakout year and established himself as one of the best receivers in the Big 10. Bell had 50 receptions with 863 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Bell was fifth in the Big 10 in receiving yards per game.

Career Highlight

Also one more thing about Bell: He’s a damn good blocker! In fact, the NCAA recently announced they’re cracking down more on hitting defenseless players above the shoulders this season, largely because of hits like Bell made on a Wisconsin player in the Big 10 Championship last season. Nebraska fans refer to it as the “Kenny Bell Rule.”

Take a look at this spectacular hit below (the great Gus Johnson with the call). I care about the player’s safety, but how could you not love this block?

How Bell Stacks Up Against His Competition

As I mentioned, Bell is one of the best receivers in the Big 10. Phil Steele named him to his 2013 Preseason All-Big 10 1st team. In 2012, he was named 1st team All-Big Ten by the Big Ten Network, Phil Steele, ESPN and CBS. Big 10 coaches and media named him second-team All-Big Ten in 2012.

Bell’s two best games in 2012 were against Minnesota and the Buckeyes. Against the Golden Gophers, Bell had nine catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns (expected when going against the Minnesota defense). I obviously saw him play against the Buckeye defense last fall and I was impressed by his play. He caught the ball five times for 133 yards. Credit the Buckeye defense for harassing Martinez enough to prevent him from hooking up with his star receiver for a touchdown (3 interceptions).

Why Bell is Ranked No. 15?

I consider Bell to be the third best wide receiver in the Big 10, trailing only Penn State’s Allen Robinson and Wisconsin’s Jared Abbredaris. The reason I consider him only the third best is because he seemed inconsistent at times last season, especially in the latter half of the season. After his great performance against the Buckeyes, he had two solid games against Northwestern and the school up north. Then he combined for only 62 receiving yards against Michigan State and Penn State. After he destroyed Minnesota’s defense, Bell sat out with an injury against Iowa and only managed 14 receiving yards against Wisconsin. Bell needs to prove he can be consistent throughout the grind of the Big 10 season and against good defenses. Bell seems to have no problem doing well against inferior defenses, but needs to do well against worthy opponents to be considered the best in the Big 10. He also needs to show that last season wasn’t a fluke and that it really was his coming out party. Bell is only a junior this season, so there is definitely room for improvement. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Bell stepped his game up even more this season and established himself as the best receiver in the Big 10.

Previously on MotSaG’s Best of the B1G
Best of the B1G, #20-16
Best of the B1G, #25-21