Devon Bell: Could Make A Huge Impact

Devon Bell

Devon Bell

Mississippi State Head Coach Dan Mullen has placed a premium on Special Teams during his tenure. During the 2012 recruiting period, he has been trying to find players who could bolster a special teams unit that has struggled the past few years. The first specialist he secured a commitment from was Devon Bell. Bell is a Sports Illustrated 1st Team All-American that served three roles for the Warren Central Vikings: kicker, punter, and kickoffs. He performed well in all three roles, making 4-8 kicks, averaging 41.9 yards a punt, and booting 29 touchbacks.

I had a chance to speak with Bell to discuss his commitment, mindset as a kicker, and future as a Bulldog.

Bell was one of Dan Mullen’s first commitments for the 2012 recruiting class. The talented kicker talked about why he chose to be a Bulldog.

“I felt like it was the school for me and liked the people there. It’s close to home, and that’s where I want to spend the next four years of my life,” Bell said.

The scholarship offer from a Division I program was something the former soccer player has worked for since he began practicing kicking and punting in the seventh grade.

“I feel tremendously blessed. I worked so hard for it. I was always hoping to get one, and hard work paid off,” said Bell.

“When I first started kicking, I actually taught myself. When I was in the eighth through tenth grade, I’d spend all day during the summer going out to the football field just kicking. I started going to camps in 11th grade — learning the right technique. You have to work as hard as anyone else to be good.”

Bell had a solid senior year from a personal standpoint, but his team the Warren Central Vikings only managed one win. The specialist, in addition to being named a Sports Illustrated All-American, was chosen for the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Game in Mobile, Alabama.

“It’s amazing. I don’t think I did as good as I thought I could have. It was a high honor to get that Sports Illustrated [award]. It was real cool to play in the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Game,” said Bell.

Bell has developed a bond with fellow prospects, especially a fellow specialist Evan Sobiesk, who will walk on at Mississippi State. The All-American discussed his relationship with Sobiesk.

“Me and Evan Sobiesk — he’s going to be a walk-on kicker up there. We’ve become pretty good friends. We talk often — at least three times a week. We’ve built up a good friendship,” said Bell.

Something I’ve always wondered was how a kicker feels about their position on a football team and what goes through their mind before the big kicks. Bell gave his thought process on the subject.

“I love being the kicker. You can talk smack to all these linemen. They won’t really do much because you’re the kicker. It’s a lot of fun; I like it,” said Bell.

“I just go out there and do everything I’ve been taught to do — just try to apply those to the situations going on. Not worrying about any pressure or anything — just hit the ball clean, and you’ll do it.”

The accolades have been numerous for Bell, but he must concentrate on his future as a Bulldog now. He discussed what his role will be next season and how he plans to compete.

“I think I will definitely be doing kickoffs and fighting for the punt position,” Bell said.

“Baker’s a really good punter, and I just have to have the mindset that I got to [approach] every kick like I can’t be beat and refuse to get beat. That’s the type of mindset you have to have to beat out guys,” said Bell.

Devon Bell may be a kicker and punter, but he is potentially the most competitive player I’ve ever spoken to about the game of football. Bell could make a huge impact during the four years he is at Mississippi State.

“Beat out everybody. I want to be kickoffs. If I do kickoffs and punts I want to lead the SEC—not only the SEC — the country. That’s just the mindset I have — it may not happen, but that’s the mindset I’m bringing into Mississippi State.”

@JeremiahShort26

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