Kenny Bell was a three-sport star in high school. Whether it was leading his high school basketball team to a state title, being an all-state football player, to even setting school and personal records in track & field, Bell could do it all.
Bell attended Fairview High School in Boulder, Colorado. While Bell stood out on the gridiron, he was a track & field phenom. Bell was one of the state’s top performers in both the sprinting and jumping events. In the long jump, he posted a personal-best leap of 7.62 meters, while in the high jump he had a best of 6 feet, 6 inches. He also ran the 100-meter dash in 10.8 seconds and his 40-yard dash time at his Nebraska Pro Day was a blazing 4.38.
But Bell’s first love has always been football. As a Junior, Bell earned first-team All-League honors, playing wingback and rushing for 958 yards and 12 touchdowns. His Senior season, Bell caught 18 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns, and added an interception and kickoff return for a touchdown. Obviously, his coaches were smart and knew “let’s get our best athlete in space and let him do the rest.”
Coming out of high school, Bell was recruited as an athlete and according to Rivals.com was a 3-star recruit. He was the 9th ranked player in the state of Colorado, and the 67th ranked athlete in the country. Bell had 9 Division 1 scholarship offers to play football. Most notably Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Colorado, Colorado State, Minnesota, Texas Tech, and Nebraska where he would ultimately sign his National Letter of Intent to play for Bo Pelini in December of 2009.
Bell attended Nebraska from 2010 to 2014. As a redshirt freshman in 2011, he played in all 13 games making 11 starts. He led the team with 32 catches for 461 yards and 3 touchdowns. He became the second freshman in school history to lead the team in these categories. As a sophomore in 2012, Bell started all 14 games and again led the team with 50 catches for 863 yards and 8 touchdowns. As a junior, he played in all 13 games and for the third straight year led the team with 52 catches for 577 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Bell set numerous Nebraska records his senior season in 2014. Against Rutgers he broke the career receptions record which had been held by Nate Swift. A few weeks later against Wisconsin he broke Johnny Rodgers career receiving yards record. I remember this game he played against Wisconsin not because of his record-breaking performance, but for his bone crushing blind side block on a Wisconsin defender. ⬇️
He played in all 13 games that year and for the fourth straight season he led the team in receiving, becoming the first player in school history to do so all four years. Bell earned first-team All-Big Ten Conference honors after recording 47 receptions for 788 yards with six touchdowns. Bell started 49-of-53 games played at the University of Nebraska, finishing his career ranked first in school history in receptions (181) and receiving yards (2,689) as well as third in receiving touchdowns (21). He made the most starts on offense (49) in school history and posted 51 kickoff returns for 1,277 yards (25.0 avg.) with one touchdown during his career.
Moving on from his incredible college career, Kenny Bell was drafted in the 2015 NFL Draft with the 162nd pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While he spent his entire rookie season with the Bucs, he was released in 2016 after failing to make final roster cuts.
In October of the same year, the Ravens signed Bell to their practice squad. After being waived on August 18th in 2017 by the Ravens due to injury, he was re-signed two days later to their practice squad and eventually signing with Denver’s practice squad 5 months later.
I look for Kenny Bell to be a game changing playmaker for the Salt Lake Stallions this February. His father, Ken Bell, played for the Broncos and totaled more than 2,000 career yards in kickoff returns. Look for the Stallions to utilize Bell’s blazing speed and freakish athleticism. Kenny Bell was one of my favorite players to watch in college, and you better believe I’ll be looking for him in the AAF. (Check out the entire Stallions roster HERE!)