The Wolverine

November 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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12 THE WOLVERINE NOVEMBER 2018   INSIDE MICHIGAN ATHLETICS Michigan freshman Ronnie Bell has been one of the team's nicest surprises, a former two-star recruit out of Kansas City who made an impact with two touchdown receptions in his first seven games. Bell sits down with us for this month's Q&A session: The Wolverine: You committed to Missouri State for basket- ball, and a lot of people doubted you on the football side of things. Why did you choose that route, and what was it like when you first arrived in Ann Arbor? Bell: "I always wanted to play football. Once me and my dad had a conversation … we talked and he said, 'Don't worry about money; just do what you want to do.' That's when it was a no-brainer to de-commit and switch sports. "I came in humble, just was the basketball guy kind of to everybody. My goal was to show everybody I could play foot- ball. … I guess right off the bat, the first few days of one on ones I knew I was all right, that I can do this, for sure. For me to start off this way, it's a great thing; a great feeling." The Wolverine: Your dad was a football coach at the smaller collegiate level in Missouri. How did that help you growing up? Bell: "It helped me tremendously. My dad had me in the film room when I was 8, 9 or 10 years old. I guess that part of college football wasn't too dramatic for me. "My dad was definitely a big boost. I knew what to prepare for when I came up here. Because my dad was a coach and I was around college football a lot as a little kid, I just loved it. Once I started playing in middle school, I developed a great passion for it." The Wolverine: Michigan was your first Power Five offer. How frustrating was it to not get the offers you thought you deserved, and how did Jim Harbaugh find you? Bell: "Every Friday, every week I attacked high school football with everything I had, trying to earn a scholarship from some- body, but nobody wanted anything to do with me. I didn't do any camps because I was always playing AAU basketball. "Coach Harbaugh's brother-in-law coaches basketball at [ri- val] Blue Spring South. We were just talking football and coach got a hold of my senior tape. The rest is history." The Wolverine: You and senior Grant Perry are competing for time, but he's apparently shown you the ropes. How big a help has he been? Bell: "Grant taught me everything I know. Every day in camp we'd come back from here [Schembechler Hall], get into the hotel room … I'm up in the room lining up the couch and get- ting pillows all set up [like players], I'm running around lining up. He got me right over fall camp, for sure. He gets an A-plus [as a teacher]." The Wolverine: How often do you think about where you'd be now and what you'd have missed out on had you stuck with basketball? Bell: "I thought about that not too long ago, actually. My buddy, a real good friend of mine, Khaleke Smith … I talk to him every day, and I got a text from him after I scored the touchdown against Maryland: 'Man, a year ago today I was on the sideline talking to your dad about playing basketball for Missouri State. Now you scored a touchdown on national television.' "That's just crazy to think about how much it switched." — Chris Balas Through the first seven games, Bell has hauled in three passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL Sitting Down With Freshman Wide Receiver Ronnie Bell

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