WACO, Texas – Guilford College redshirt-senior De’Eric Bell (Jackson, Ga./Jackson) earned First Team NCAA Division III All-America honors from the American Football Coaches’ Association (AFCA) for the second straight season Monday.
Bell, the team’s all-purpose back, becomes Guilford’s first football player named an All-American in three different seasons (2015, 2017, and 2018). He was one of eight repeat selections to this year’s AFCA All-America Team.
The All-Americans were determined by the AFCA’s Division III?All-America Selection Committee, comprised of three head coaches from each of the organization’s eight districts. The AFCA has selected an All-America team since 1945 and honors teams in all five of its divisions. Members of the AFCA Coaches’ All-America First Team receive a plaque commemorating their selection.
Bell, a 5-7, 195-pound running back and kick returner, concluded his exemplary career ranked fifth in Division III history with 8,396 all-purpose yards in 44 games. After two selections to the D3football.com All-South team as an all-purpose back, he made the 2018 unit as a first-team running back. Bell also received First Team All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) honors this season at running back. He leads NCAA Division III in all-purpose yards per game (239.89) and is third in scoring (14.2 ppg.). Bell is the first student to top Division III in all-purpose yards per game in consecutive seasons since Hartwick College’s Lindy Crea (2005-06) and the fifth to twice win Division III’s all-purpose season yardage title. He is ranked 13th nationally with a school-record 1,334 rushing yards, and also caught 20 passes for 234 yards, returned 10 punts for 87 yards, and returned 21 kickoffs for 504 yards, fourth-best in the ODAC. Bell’s 2,159 total all-purpose yards in 2018 stand third in school history and fourth in ODAC history. His league- and school-record 239.9 yards per game average is 14th in Division III history.
Through all but the national title game, Bell owns two of Division III’s top-four all-purpose yards totals in a game this year. He amassed a Division III-best 392 yards in Guilford’s road game with NCAA Division I-Football Championship Series member Davidson College (187 rushing, 14 receiving, 191 returns). Bell ended his college career with 370 all-purpose yards in the Quakers’ contest at Emory & Henry College. The two all-purpose yards totals rank second and third, respectively, in school history, trailing only Bell’s 424-yard effort against Methodist University in 2017. He leaves with eight of the top-nine single-game all-purpose yardage totals in school history.
Bell helped his all-purpose efforts by recording the finest campaign by a running back in Guilford history. He set school season standards for rushing yards, rushing touchdowns (21), 100-yard rushing games (7), and 200-yard rushing games (2) in a season. Bell won the ODAC’s Offensive Player of the Week Award for the fifth time in his career after running for 225 yards and a school-record five touchdowns versus Methodist University September 8. Bell also boasts top-seven national rankings (through games of Dec. 8) in rushing yards per game (148.2), points per game (14.2), total points (126), and total touchdowns (21).
Bell shattered all of Guilford’s career rushing, scoring (384 points), touchdowns (63), kickoff return (2.342 yards), and all-purpose yardage records this fall. His 4,213 career rushing yards broke Reggie Kenan’s ‘77 former mark of 3,486 yards that stood since 1976. Bell also set the ODAC’s career kickoff return yards record and concluded his career ranked second among the league’s career rushing, scoring and touchdowns leaders.
Coach Chris Rusiewicz’s Quakers posted a 3-6 overall record and went 2-5 in the ODAC last fall. Guilford could return as many as 62 letter winners next fall, including 16 starters.