The Wolverine

March 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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MARCH 2018 THE WOLVERINE 43 somewhere you're wanted, you're not doing it right." He visited the school in January and loved it. He hung out with a number of current Wolverines, in- cluding freshman wide receiver Nico Collins. "I felt like all of Ann Arbor was the campus, and I thought that was really neat," Bell said. "All the new facilities, especially with that weight room, and everything they have go- ing on there you can tell they are re- building into something really nice." Bell said the coaching staff told him he will play on special teams to start, mostly returning kicks. It's the first starting job he had on varsity as a sophomore in high school. His speed (he runs a 4.5 40-yard dash) will be critical there and in the slot, which is where he is expected to play at re- ceiver once he moves his way up the depth chart. Before then, Bell wants to add more weight. Michigan lists him at 6-1, 174 pounds, and he wants to be at 190 pounds by the time he reaches cam- pus in June. Bell's high school coach, Josh Hood, said that his senior will bring a lot to U-M and that his skills as a blocking receiver can be impactful right away. "I take a lot of pride in my block- ing, first and foremost," Bell said. "When the ball is in the air, my dad laughs about it, but I don't care about my body so I go and get it. I feel like that's another strength that I have. When the ball is in my hands, I feel like I have playmaking abilities." Hood also called Bell one of the smartest football players he's ever been around. "He came to our Sunday staff meet- ings, ate dinner with us and made suggestions. We talked about the cov- erages and eventually the quarter- back started coming," Hood said. "It transferred to the field. He's so smart in that capacity." Bell thinks he got some of that knowledge from his dad, who played football growing up and was a col- lege coach locally. Michigan's coaching staff is hop- ing they have found the ultimate diamond in the rough — and Hood thinks they may have done just that. "Ronnie is an athletic freak," Hood said. "He blows our minds every day." ❏ 2018 Projection The 2018 roster has a very young and talented wide receiver corps that will include sophomores Tarik Black, Nico Collins and Donovan Peoples-Jones. Redshirt freshman Oliver Martin, juniors Kekoa Craw- ford and Eddie McDoom, and senior Grant Perry will all see the field as well. With such a deep and expe- rienced group, Bell likely won't be needed as a true freshman, which should give him a chance to add some weight and learn what it takes to be a college receiver. DID YOU KNOW? • Born Jan. 28, 2000. • Michigan was Bell's only football offer. • Helped lead Park Hill to its first Gold Conference title as a senior, totaling 2,347 all-purpose yards. He also eclipsed 1,000 all-purpose yards as a junior (1,165). • Averaged more than 15 points per game last year on the basketball court and was named first-team all-district. • Mother played basketball at Fort Scott Community College. • Father coached wide receivers at Missouri Western State. THEY SAID IT • Kansas City (Mo.) Park Hill head coach Josh Hood: "Sometimes you see guys on a basketball court who can do all of those crazy, athletic things and you think, 'Man, I wish I could see that guy on a football field,' and that's Ronnie. "He's a football player, but he has that leaping ability and incredible body control. His ability to find the ball while it's in the air is special too. He really runs great routes and has a way of getting open as well. He's very slippery and has a great ability to get off the line of scrimmage. He can really just do it all." • Missouri State basketball coach Paul Lusk: "Ronnie is a winner. Whether it's on the football field or on the basketball court, he competes at a special level." Bell's 159 career catches in high school gained 2,476 yards and 31 touchdowns — each ranks among the top three in Missouri state history, along with Dorial Green-Beckham and Jeremy Maclin, who were second- and first-round NFL Draft picks, respectively. PHOTO BY DARRYL WOODS

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