Name: Ronnie Bell
Weight: 192 lbs.
High school: Kansas City (MO) Park Hill
Position: Wide receiver
Jersey number: #8
Last year: I ranked Bell #12 and said he would be a starting wide receiver (LINK). He caught 26 passes for 401 yards and 1 touchdown.
TTB Rating: 71
We have reached the point in the countdown where I think any major injury in the top eight could be devastating for Michigan’s season. In this case, I hemmed and hawed about who should be ranked the lowest of the tier, and I finally settled on Bell. Bell still gets a lot of flak for not being good enough, which is odd to me because he has led the team in receiving for two consecutive years. He has also repeatedly shown that he’s the only receiver who can consistently gain yards after the catch. That led to him averaging a respectable 15.8 and 15.9 yards per reception in each of the past two seasons. But when you’re an afterthought as a recruit with no high-level offers, I guess that stigma sticks with you.
The 2020 season saw him make 4 receptions in five games and 6 against Indiana, a game in which he totaled 149 yards and 1 touchdown, including a 52-yard catch and run. Bell has decent hands and isn’t afraid to venture over the middle. He can break tackles and maintain his balance well, but what he lacks is top-end speed. His leadership and toughness have led to him being named a captain for the 2021 season, so I don’t think he’s getting passed up on the depth chart. There’s a chance that another receiver will take over the lead in receptions or yards this fall, but I’m putting my figurative money on Bell to once again lead the team. With other talented receivers on the roster, I don’t think the passing game would fall apart if Bell were to get injured, but I don’t know that any other receiver can take a bubble screen or RPO slant, break a couple tackles, and gain 40-50 yards after the catch.
Prediction: Starting wide receiver; 43 catches, 670 yards, 4 touchdowns
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