Purdue wide receiver David Bell was announced as the Big Ten Receiver of the Year this afternoon, making the junior the second Boilermaker in the last four years to win the award after Rondale Moore captured it in 2018.
The honor was not particularly surprising – Bell is one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, given to the best receiver in the country – but it is well-deserved. The Boilermaker wideout is No. 2 in the country in catches per game (8.5) and fourth in receiving yards per game (116.9) and leads the Big Ten in both categories.
All told, the Indianapolis native, who was the Big Ten's Freshman of the Year in 2019, has 93 catches for 1,286 yards, just 22 yards shy of setting the single-season record at Purdue. Bell has hauled in six touchdown passes and had 200-yard receiving performances in Purdue's wins over top 5 opponents Iowa and Michigan State, making him only the second receiver in Boilermaker history with multiple 200-yard performances in a season. He has seven 100-yard games in 2021, giving him a Purdue-record 17 in his three seasons in West Lafayette.
Bell was also named First-Team All-Big Ten for the second straight season.
Bell is eligible to enter the NFL Draft after this season and he went through Senior Day festivities prior to Purdue's regular-season finale against Indiana after getting a degree from the university in May. He said after the game he has not yet talked to his family about whether to enter the draft or, if he does, whether he will play in Purdue's bowl game.
The former Warren Central star did not practice during the week leading up to the game against Indiana because of a hip injury and a quadriceps strain, but he pressed on to play in the 44-7 win over the Hoosiers, catching a touchdown pass along the way.
“David's one of my favorite people of all-time,” fellow wide receiver Jackson Anthrop said. “This guy has a million-dollar career coming. He could've easily said, 'You know what? I'm not playing this game.' But this dude's banged up and he came in here and played his tail off for everybody. That's a guy who has left his mark as arguably the best receiver ever at Purdue.”