It is hard to believe that the Indiana high school football season has reached the halfway point, but here we are getting ready for week number five. Indiana Varsity Scout caught up with Shakir Bell right after an in-season strength workout. "We don't lift as hard in-season as we do out of season," Shakir confided to me. "But next week is a big week for me. I am trying to increase my maxes. If it weren't for the season, they would be more." I couldn't help but smile. So I had to ask, "What are your personal goals?" He simply responded 350 for the bench, 500 for the squat and 285 for the power clean. Bell is listed at 5-7 and 175 pounds. He assured me that he is 5-8 and 180 pounds. For the size of this senior athlete, the lifts are world class.
"I told Shakir to be patient his time would come and now it is here," Head Coach John Hart spoke candidly. In a real football program it is hard to break through some times when there are talented seniors in front of you. Shakir got to watch Darren Evans (now at Virginia Tech) and Jewel Hampton (of Iowa). Shakir calls them "role models." "I learned something from all of them. It was hard last year biding my time, but now it is my opportunity to help my team realize our goals," Shakir said.
In his first 4 games of the 2009 season, Bell has run for an impressive 831 yards against some very good competition. Last Saturday night (9.12.09), he ran for 179 yards against Ben Davis, one of the best defensive teams in the state. Bell ran for the winning touchdown in overtime against Ben Davis. "That's all we worked for this week was to keep on pushing. The offensive line did a great job all night," Bell related after the game. He is always quick to tell me about how good his offensive line is. "They not only get their blocks at the point of attack, but they get downfield and make it easy for me to read my cuts."
Playing in one of the nation's best football conferences gives Shakir the confidence that he can make the transition to college, but he is the first to admit that his focal point right now is claiming a state championship on the Saturday after Thanksgiving at Lucas Oil. "Right now, Western Kentucky is contacting me twice a week and I am taking a vist there this weekend (9.19.09). I am still getting weekly contact from Central Michigan and Ball State. I really like Indaina University and Purdue," he told the IVS.
Shakir has made an impact on the Indiana HS football scene as one of the premiere backs to play in 2009. He has the work ethic and strength to back up his numbers and truly is not a great risk for the college team looking for speed, power and finesse. Every weekend, from the college game to the pro game, running backs match the size, heart and athletic ability of Shakir Bell. He has the heart of a warrior and plays bigger in big games. He is coming from a HS that has produced some great running backs and he keeps that tradition alive.