Barracudas Bring In Former Baylor Bear QB
TEMPLE - So much for the CenTex Barracudas professional indoor football team remaining the best kept secret in Central Texas.
With the signing of former Baylor Bear standout quarterback Shawn Bell, team owner Dr. Frederick Barnett attached a locally recognizable name and face to his Intense Football League franchise. And considering the excitement among team officials at the Barracuda press conference at Crab Daddy's Thursday afternoon, it's clear they think they have an NFL-caliber quarterback in their midst.
"He's the picture-perfect example of what we want this franchise to be all about for me," said Barnett, who brought professional indoor football to the Bell County Expo Center in 2006. "Don't get me wrong, I think we have a lot of guys like that on our team, but he's the epitome of the kind of young men of character with want to build this team around."
Byron Wilkerson, Barracuda director of player personnel, could not agree more.
"I think he brings a lot to the table," Wilkerson said. "First of all, he's a local guy, and the type of person he is, his character is off the charts. And he just happens to be a great quarterback, too. He's a solid, grounded Christian man who has his priorities in all the right places. We're excited to have him."
Having his priorities "in all the right places" played a big role in the Barracudas being able to land a player of Bell's caliber. After graduating from Baylor following the 2006 season, Bell spent a year playing in Canada before taking a high school coaching job at Round Rock Stony Point. Being able to stay close to home and extend his playing opportunities made the Barracudas an attractive possibility.
But it didn't happen without a few hitches.
Wilkerson first learned that Bell might be interested in playing for the Barracudas when his grandmother introduced herself to Wilkerson on Fort Hood last year. Wilkerson later called Bell, arranged for a meeting with Barnett and newly hired head coach Chris Duliban, and felt like they were close to signing him.
Then he was drafted by the AAFL by Michigan. But when the team folded before playing a game, Bell turned his sights back on Central Texas. After attending the Odessa exhibition game with Wilkerson last weekend, Bell decided to join the team, to Duliban's delight.
"On the field, he's a leader with poise, a strong arm and pinpoint accuracy," Duliban said. "Off the field, he's a man with strong character, a love for Central Texas, and someone who is recognizable by the people of Central Texas. He's going to be a great addition to the team."
But Duliban, Wilkerson and Barnett were unanimous in immediately confirming that indoor football veteran Bart Goyd remains the Barracuda starting quarterback.
"Bart is a veteran of the league and can help teach Shawn the nuances of the indoor game," Duliban said. "
NOTES - Individual game ticket remain on sale at the Bell County Expo Center ticket office Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult ticket prices start at $10, while children begin at $5 per game. Season tickets and corporate partnerships are also still available. Call 254-939-3941 for more information.
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