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Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Big Ten rankings: No. 6, Le'Veon Bell

By Adam Rittenberg

The postseason players march on with the best of the best. As a reminder, these rankings are based solely on performance during the 2012 season.

Our next selection found the end zone quite a bit during his Michigan State career, so it's fitting he checks in at ...

No. 6: Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State, Jr., 6-foot-2, 242 pounds

Preseason ranking: No. 17

2012 numbers: 382 carries for 1,793 yards and 12 touchdowns; 32 receptions for 167 yards and a touchdown

Why he's here: Whether he was jumping over, running around or plowing through defenders, Bell carried Michigan State's offense on his broad shoulders in 2012. While the Spartans struggled elsewhere on offense, Bell proved to be one of the nation's most productive backs.

No FBS player recorded more carries than Bell's 382, and he led the Big Ten and finished third nationally in rushing average (137.9 ypg). His 1,793 rush yards marked the second-highest single-season total in team history. He eclipsed 120 rush yards in eight games and recorded three 200-yard rushing performances. The ultimate workhorse back, Bell had eight games with at least 32 carries for the Spartans, including each of the last four contests.

Bell earned consensus first-team All-Big Ten honors and was a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award. According to STATS, he recorded more than half of his yards (922) after contact and recorded 82 first-down runs for an offense that badly needed them. Bell won Offensive Player of the Game honors in MSU's Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl win against TCU after rushing for 145 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries. The bowl performance ended up being Bell's last as a Spartan as he decided the next carries he'll take will come for an NFL team.

The countdown

No. 25Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan
No. 24Michael Carter, CB, Minnesota
No. 23Kain Colter, QB, Northwestern
No. 22Spencer Long, G, Nebraska
No. 21: Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
No. 20: Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska
No. 19Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
No. 18Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin
No. 17: Jake Ryan, LB, Michigan
No. 16: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
No. 15: Max Bullough, LB, Michigan State
No. 14Matt McGloin, QB, Penn State
No. 13: Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin
No. 12Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State
No. 11: Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
No. 10Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
No. 9Venric Mark, RB, Northwestern
No. 8Jordan Hill, DT, Penn State
No. 7: Taylor Lewan, LT, Michigan