From WSU to NFL
How Joique Bell’s determination paid off
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Joique Bell is the epitome of hard work, persistence and determination—so focused on his future that he didn’t drink alcohol until his draft night toast with family and friends.
As the sports writer for WSU’s official student newspaper, the South End, my editor briefed me on my new assignment, covering a running back from Benton Harbor, Mich., who was Wayne State’s version of NFL great Barry Sanders.
According to the Wayne State athletic department website, Bell amassed 6,728 career rushing yards (sixth in Division-II/8th in NCAA history), while his 152.9 rushing yards per game rank 25th in NCAA history for Division-II. His four-year Wayne State Warrior, football legacy would later be enshrined when he won the 2009 Harlon Hill trophy as the nation’s top NCAA Division II player.
I would soon witness this “phenom” with my own eyes. I witnessed the work ethic and dedication to excellence that Bell brought to practice and game preparation. I saw what very few people saw—the grueling workouts, tight schedules and the pain.
Many times, he sat in tubs of ice, mending and focusing on his future. He did all of this while maintaining his rigorous course work and graduating with a criminal justice degree.
Standing in the press box watching him break tackles and run for touchdowns was a sight to behold. It was hard to be an objective reporter and not become a fan of this guy. He was extremely knowledgeable about the game and surprisingly honest about his shortcomings.
I never heard Bell talk publicly about a teammate; he put the blame for team losses on his own back. Bell was humble during interviews, especially when asked about a record he had just shattered.