Wayne State University running back Joique Bell wins national award as top Division II football player in the nation

December 11, 2009

Joique Bell, a Wayne State University senior from Benton Harbor, Mich., has been named the 2009 Harlon Hill Trophy winner, a coveted award recognizing the top football player in the NCAA Division II. The Harlon Hill Trophy is emblematic of the Division II Heisman Trophy.

Sports information directors representing 156 NCAA Division II football playing institutions cast their votes in regional voting to determine the player who has distinguished himself as the best among his peers this year. The award was announced during the 24th annual Harlon Hill Trophy Presentation Banquet on Friday, Dec.11 at the Florence (Ala.) Conference Center.

"The selection of Joique Bell as one of the three finalists for the Harlon Hill Award is a great recognition for a talented young man who has exemplified some of the most important attributes of a student-athlete," said Rob Fournier, Wayne State University director of athletics. "He will graduate this December with a degree in criminal justice, he has amassed an unparalleled collegiate athletic record and has performed admirably in service to others and his community. To bring this type of acclaim as one of the best football student-athletes in the country is high recognition for our football program, the athletic department and one of the finest academic universities in the country. Alumni all over the world can take a special pride in this acknowledgment."

Bell, a 6-foot-1-inch, 223-pound running back, also earned the 2009 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Player of the Year honor and was named to the 2009 American Football Coaches Association Division II All-America Team.

At the conclusion of the Division II regular season, he led all NCAA (FBS, FCS, II and III) in rushing yards per game (189.45), points per game (17.45) and all-purpose yards per game (217.45). Bell is the fourth player in Division II history with two 2,000-yard rushing seasons in 1996 and 98.

Bell concluded his career totals with 6,728 rushing yards (sixth in Division II/8th in NCAA history), while his 152.91 rushing yards per game is 11th in Division II and 25th in NCAA history. He scored 576 points which ranks fourth in Division II and fifth in NCAA history, while his 13.1 points per game average is fourth in Division II and 10th in NCAA history. His 8,055 all-purpose yards is fourth in Division II and ninth in NCAA history. He is only the fourth person in GLIAC history to be a two-time conference Offensive Back of the Year award winner.

Bell, a Criminal Justice major, was inspired by his brother-in-law, Paul Sorce, who passed away in March 2009. Sorce, an FBI agent who died in an on-duty car accident in Detroit, was an inspiration to Bell offering advice about school, football and law enforcement.

Serving in the FBI remains a goal for Bell, but he also dreams of playing football in the NFL. 

Wayne State University is a premier urban research university offering more than 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 31,000 students.

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Contact: Jeff Weiss - 419-367-1627
Tom Reynolds - 248-884-9179