The Wolverine

September 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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30 THE WOLVERINE SEPTEMBER 2021 BY JOHN BORTON E xcitement welled up inside Ron- nie Bell, like it does for any young athlete signing a national letter of intent to become a college scholarship athlete. Anticipation filled his thoughts, even while his Park Hill High School foot- ball crew in Kansas City prepped for a district champi- onship. Soon all of this would disappear in the rearview mirror, and he'd venture out into a bright future. The crowds, the compe- tition and intensity of col- lege athletics loomed directly ahead. Bell welcomed it, fully embracing his future … as a Missouri State basketball player. Bell laughs about it now, when re- minded of his seemingly certain future as an MSU Bear. It all seems so far in the past, a world that never materi- alized replaced by winged helmets, bright lights and the biggest football stage in the world. The fourth-year Michigan junior will trot out in front of 110,000 fans on Sept. 4 for what promises to be his final sea- son in maize and blue. He'll look to build on two straight campaigns of leading the Wolverines in catches and receiving yards. He'll pause at some point to appreci- ate all that's happened … and remem- ber how it almost didn't. See, Bell didn't possess an offer for a full college football scholarship back in the fall of 2017. Not one. He played out his prep season on the gridiron, ready to take advantage of his basket- ball talents. "I was excited I was going to Mis- souri State," he recalled. "It was still in the middle of football season. It was the week of the district championship game that I signed my NLI to Missouri State. "I was all fired up. The football team had been playing well. We'd won our first two playoff games. On top of that, I got to sign my NLI. Everything was looking good, and I was excited." T h e e x c i t e - ment, the eupho- ria over inking the NLI didn't last. RINGING OUT SUCCESS Ronnie Bell's Journey Changed Dramatically

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