At this time last year, nobody really expected Reggie Bell to be the starting quarterback at the start of last season.
It seemed like once Tyler Benz left the program, the starting quarterback job was certainly going to be Brogan Roback's. But a week before the season opener against the Morgan State Bears, newly hired head coach Chris Creighton announced Reggie Bell to be the starting quarterback for the Eagles. Roback and LSU transfer Rob Bolden both had their opportunities to take over as the EMU quarterback, but we eventually learned that this became Bell's job, and still is.
Sat our as a redshirt in 2013, the dual-threat quarterback turned into a human highlight reel that was unfortunate enough to only win two of the ten games that he played in. He didn't shine right away in September, but once October rolled around, it was a different story.
The homecoming game against the Buffalo Bulls showed that Bell could be an absolute playmaker on the field, and fortunately a quarterback that was worth working around with four years to work with. In that game, he really only played the second half and the final drive of the first, and still broke the EMU single-game rushing record by a quarterback of 189 yards by going for 202 yards on 17 carries, and became the only player in EMU history to have two rushing scores of at least 70 yards in a single game.
His speed and athleticism wasn't an "oh yeah, by the way" sort of deals, it was what defined the young quarterback. A completion percentage of 57 in 2014, passing wasn't a secondary trait. Against Ball State, Bell was 36-for-49 through the air for 409 passing yards and three scores, while still picking up 101 yards on the ground. That's more passing yards than any Ball State quarterback had at Scheumann Stadium since Keith Wenning on his Senior Day (445 yards).
For the season, Bell only had nine passing touchdowns with six interceptions, just shy of 1,300 passing yards. On the ground, Bell had a team-best 562 rushing yards (second amongst MAC QBs) on 133 carries (4.2 yards per carry) with four touchdowns.
Another year under Creighton in Kalen DeBoer's offense means for more familiarity and better chemistry with other returning players on that side of the ball. He's become more well-versed with the playbook, so it'll be interesting to see if Bell can help lead the EMU offense to new heights in 2015. He's already proved plenty of times that he has the athleticism and can be a raw playmaker, which is what you'd want to have in a quarterback.