Jan. 14, 2009
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Teammates and All-Americans at Furman, offensive tackle Joel Bell and cornerback William Middleton will play against each other in the third annual Texas vs. The Nation All-Star Classic, scheduled for Saturday, January 31 at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, it has been announced.
Bell will play for The Nation team while Middleton will line up for the Texas squad in the contest, which will be broadcast by CBS College Sports. Kickoff is set for 3:00 p.m. ET.
Bell, a 6-foot-8, 318-pound senior from Spartanburg, S.C., was recently named to the Associated Press, Walter Camp Foundation, and Sports Network Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) All-America teams after garnering consensus All-Southern Conference honors. He has been invited to the 2009 NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp), scheduled for Feb. 18-24 in Indianapolis, Ind.
A three-year starter and three-time All-SoCon selection, he was tabbed by league head coaches as the SoCon's 2008 Jacobs Blocking Award winner, becoming the 13th Paladin to capture the award. He was also recently named to the College Sporting News FCS Fabulous 50 Team.
He graduated with a degree in health and exercise science in December.
Middleton, a 5-foot-10, 188-pound native of Atlanta, Ga., who was recently named to AFCA and Sports Network All-America squads, tallied 95 tackles, including nine for-loss, and five sacks while also totaling a team leading four interceptions and nine pass deflections in 2008. A consensus All-SoCon first team selection this past fall, he racked up a Furman single game cornerback record 15 tackles along with a sack and pass deflection in the Paladins' 34-20 win over The Citadel on Oct. 18.
A three-year regular who registered action in 49 games and logged 35 starts in his career, he totaled 194 tackles, 17 tackles for-loss, four fumble recoveries, seven interceptions, and 19 pass deflections during his Paladin tenure. He also averaged 22.4 yards on 59 kickoff returns over four seasons and recorded a school record tying 100-yard return for a touchdown in a 35-21 win over Wofford in 2006.
He graduated with a degree in biology in May of 2008.