With so much buzz circling around sophomore wide receiver Rondale Moore, it can be easy to pass over some of the other players catching the ball. One receiver in particular has had a quiet yet successful season so far.
Freshman wide receiver David Bell has been the Boilermakers’ secret weapon in the last two weeks. The Indianapolis Star Male Athlete of the Year winner in 2018 has hit the ground running at Purdue. His first catch against Nevada went for a 49-yard touchdown.
Bell received several awards and accolades while at Warren Central High School in Indianapolis. He was ranked a four-star wide receiver by ESPN, Rivals and 247sports. He won the 2018 Gatorade State Player of the Year and also took home the Marion County Athlete of the Year award that same year.
Bell’s athleticism was not showcased only on the gridiron.
He was also a star basketball player for the Warren Central Warriors. He helped defeat former Indiana star Romeo Langford in the high school playoffs by hitting a last-second floater to just squeak by Langford’s New Albany team.
His recruitment was heavily covered by many Indiana news outlets, and his commitment to Purdue excited fans, coaches and other players.
“He’s a special player,” head coach Jeff Brohm said of Bell shortly after he signed to be a Boilermaker.
The excitement from Bell’s recruitment has brought visions of what Purdue could potentially be this season, but Bell said he doesn’t listen to any of that.
“I don’t feel any pressure,” Bell said confidently. “I do have expectations for myself but whatever outside people say, I don’t really listen to any of that.”
Part of what drew Bell toward West Lafayette is his family. He is very family-centered and remains close to them. His mother flew out to Nevada for the Boilermakers’ first game, and he had more family at the home opener at Ross-Ade.
“We had eight to nine (family members) come on Saturday and hopefully this week that number stays the same,” Bell said.
Adding talent like Bell alongside Moore, fifth-year tight end Brycen Hopkins and others creates a dangerous offensive lineup that can cause headaches for defenses. With Bell’s first season still early, his touches and opportunities are starting to grow as he learns along the way.
“I’m feeling a lot more comfortable,” Bell said. “Just over the last two games, I’ve already built a lot more confidence in myself.”
This confidence came after a long summer and learning curve after overcoming hurdles.
“At first I struggled with the playbook, but now I know it, and I can play 100% all the time,” Bell said.
With opposing defenses beginning to shift their primary focus toward Moore, Bell will begin to find himself more and more open and available to catch the ball and make a play. The offense is also starting to incorporate Bell into plays that are focused around him.
“I’m definitely starting to get a bigger role, but it isn’t just about me,” Bell said.
Now that Bell is healthy after injuring his hamstring over the summer, he will most likely continue to put up big numbers every Saturday.