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Le'Veon Bell = Marion Barber III?

Michigan State freshman running back Le'Veon Bell had a sensational debut for the Spartans last Saturday versus Western Michigan. Rushing for 147 yards on just 10 carries, Bell became the first MSU freshman running back to gain 100 yards in his debut. The Big Ten also recognized the performance, awarding Bell Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors.

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As if this didn't already raise the bar of expectations quite high for Bell, the Lansing State Journal's Joe Rexrode may have put him in some rather exclusive company while blogging about him on Saturday. Bell reminded Rexrode of another productive Big Ten back, who's about six years removed from his days at Minnesota.

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Yes, it's time to let the way-too-early-to-be-warranted-or-fair comparisons rip. When I watch Le'Veon Bell run that zone stretch play, he does remind me of the former Minnesota star, Marion Barber III. Vision, cutback ability, power and enough speed.

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Barber, now playing for the Dallas Cowboys, rushed for 3,276 yards in his three seasons with the Gophers. That's the fourth highest total in school history. Barber also scored 35 touchdowns, second on Minnesota's all-time list, just ahead of his father, Marion Barber, Jr.