Hello: Ronnie Bell

Submitted by Ace on December 19th, 2017 at 2:44 PM


[Darryl Woods/810 Varsity]

Ronnie Bell's football recruitment lasted all of a week. Michigan first contacted the Kansas City (MO) Park Hill wide receiver last Thursday. At the time, Bell intended to play college basketball at Missouri State, and held no offers for football despite a productive senior year. Michigan changed that, Bell changed his Twitter bio to read "University of Michigan Commit," and suddenly he's ticketed for the gridiron:

"They were shocked that I didn’t have any football offers," Bell said of the U-M staff. "I’m sure they were shocked that I was committed somewhere to play basketball and not football. I’m not really sure how my name got on their desk or how they found me. God works in amazing ways and he found a way to put my name on their desk.

"I never though this would happen. There were nights I would pray and I would just hope that a football school would give me an opportunity but for Michigan to be the school that did it I could’ve never imagined that. You can’t make something like that up."

Kansas State sniffed around before Bell make his commitment, but it doesn't look like anyone else will get a chance to change his mind; Bell plans to sign his LOI tomorrow, the first day of the new early signing period.

He is the 18th commit in the 2018 class and currently the only wide receiver.

GURU RATINGS

Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
2* WR NR WR 3*, 85, #160 WR,
#1078 Ovr
3*, #226 WR,
#1517 Ovr

Bell got a cursory two-star grade from Rivals after they created his profile yesterday; ESPN hasn't ranked him yet after doing the same. 247 is the only site to attempt to give Bell a real evaluation, but as Allen Trieu explained on The Victors Board, his ceiling is capped by the current lack of information beyond his senior film:

Bell is a tough eval because we have never seen him in person. We looked at his film, but hard to gauge competition and what he's built like on just a highlight tape. We have him a conversative mid-ish three-star to start. I think that's fair for a guy without a huge offer list, without testing numbers we can see, without having been evaluated at camps on in-game.

Michigan has done an in-person evaluation of Bell.

Bell is listed at 6'1", 170 by Rivals and 247; ESPN docks him an inch.

[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and more.]

SCOUTING

The internets are still bereft of scouting reports, so let's go right to the senior film:

I'm impressed. The main thing that stands out about Bell is his remarkable body control. He certainly has a basketball-worthy vertical and he uses every inch of it to high-point the ball (2:05, 3:00, 5:55); he can also contort his body to make circus catches (3:34, 8:39). He has great balance, which he combines with surprising power, plus agility, and decent long speed to get good YAC (3:10) and some spectacular sideline tightrope action (1:22). He's capable of running sharp routes (1:38) and has a good sense for setting up routes off the line (4:25, 7:13). He tracks the ball well in the air (5:05). He's even got some blocking chops; his senior reel features a few pancakes on the edge (3:56, 4:15, 7:58).

There are some potential drawbacks. We don't have testing numbers, but Bell doesn't look like he quite has that top gear to really blow the lid off a defense. At 6'1", he's also not a prototype jump-ball receiver. He'll have to rely on that leaping and ball-tracking ability for big plays, a la Junior Hemingway, who was quite a bit burlier. Other complaints are more technical; his first step off the line is inconsistent at least in part because he lines up with his feet too far apart. That's as much good news as bad; he'll be more explosive with some coaching up.

According to Steve Lorenz, here's what stood out to Pep Hamilton and Co. when Michigan did their evaluation:

I'm told Michigan was really impressed with Bell's explosiveness, ball skills and especially his body control.

Also his vertical leap, which...

...yeah, that'll do.

We're going to get to see how Drake Harris's career would've played out with functional hamstrings. (Fingers crossed.)

OFFERS

Just Michigan, though Lorenz says that's a product of Bell's focus on hoops:

It was reiterated to me that Bell would likely have "multiple" high-level offers if he had focused on football throughout the entirety of his recruitment rather than basketball.

The tape, plus the lack of football offers from the likes of Kansas, who should be offering any functional-looking football player in the region, back that up.

HIGH SCHOOL

Kansas City Park Hill plays in the largest classification in Missouri, though the area competition isn't of the quality you'd get in, for example, Detroit. Bell with be the fourth Power Five signee to hail from the program, according to the Rivals database. He's the second to head to Michigan, joining 2012 five-star DT Ondre Pipkins.

STATS

After recording stat lines of 17-232-4 and 53-639-6 as a sophomore and junior, Bell's numbers shot up to 89 receptions for 1605 yards (18.0 YPC) and 21 touchdowns (fourth-most in state history) as a senior. He added 163 yards and three scores on 15 rushes and a punt return touchdown. He won the Simone Award as the best high school football player in Kansas City; notable previous winners include Ladell Betts, Darren Sproles, Josh Freeman, Nathan Scheelhaase, and Evan Boehm.

FAKE 40 TIME

None listed; no surprise, as Bell didn't participate in any football camps.

VIDEO

Senior highlights reeeeeeeeeemix:

Some hoops highlights:

Junior highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.

PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE

Bell should get plenty of time to get used to his new #1 sport. Michigan brings back all off their wide receivers from this season other than Moe Ways, which means getting Tarik Black back from injury and Oliver Martin free of his redshirt. Also, as we were reminded this year, freshman receivers undergo a major transition period. Bell should get a redshirt.

After that, he'll start clawing for snaps behind, for the most part, the epic receiver haul of 2017. Given the competition, it'll probably take a few years before Bell gets significant playing time, giving him a chance to hone his technique before being pressured to produce. I certainly like his chances of outproducing his current ratings; to me, he looks like a four-star prospect. He has the film, the statistical production, and the local accolades, he just had to choose the sport.

UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS

Michigan stands at 18 commits in a class that'll reach the low 20s. Top targets going forward include DE Eyabi Anoma, DTs Tyler Friday and Rick Sandidge, and OTs Nicholas Petit-Frere and Jarrett Patterson. Sam Webb posted that Bell's commitment won't stop Michigan from continuing their pursuit of four-star WRs JaMarr Chase and Chris Olave, either.

Here's the class as it currently stands:

Comments

growler4

December 19th, 2017 at 2:58 PM ^

WELCOME Mr. Bell!

I know that there are some who question this offer, to a guy who is not highly ranked with multiple stars, etc.

Yet, I seem to recall a lot of questioning of the offer to Tarik Black last recruiting cycle, and earlier this year people were subsequently bemoaning his season-ending injury.

So, we'll see how he develops and how things pan out.

Frankly, I trust coaches' evaluations a lot more than recruitniks, but that's me.

schreibee

December 19th, 2017 at 3:05 PM ^

I am

a) NOT a Starz gazer

b) strongly supportive of anything Harbaugh thinks is best

That being said, in a class the size of our '18 class - Ronnie Bell better turn out to be a MONSTER!!!

I am reasonably confident he will, starting in '20 when DPJ & possibly Tarik are drafted in the 1st Rd. Just feel like maybe we could've waited til '19 to add a WR who likely won't play much if at all til '20?

If this were a draft, and we'd gotten him in the 5-7th rd, I'd be elated with this sleeper.

But then, I probably thought we only took Metellus to make Bush want to come to Michigan more than he otherwise may have, so whadda I know?!

schreibee

December 19th, 2017 at 3:44 PM ^

My post was pretty much predicated on DPJ & possibly Black being gone by '20. So if a WR is gonna get some snaps in '19 for experience, I'd just as soon it be a blue-chip true frosh as a project R-frosh.

That was my only point, given that the '18 class is so small.

But as I also said, hoping Bell turns out to be a monster, a great recruiting find by a staff that looks deeper than Starz and thinks outside the box!!

Trader Jack

December 19th, 2017 at 3:07 PM ^

So is Michael Barrett not a take at this point? Multiple reports headed into his Michigan OV indicated that he was likely to commit. Not only has that not happened, he's not even listed at the end of this post with the rest of Michigan's remaining main targets. What gives?

ComputerEngineer

December 19th, 2017 at 3:06 PM ^

Harbaugh better have actually scouted this kid. If we're offering him based on stats and highlights alone, he's doomed to ride the bench for five years.  His top end speed doesn't look like anything special and he gets off the ball so slow.

 

How come not even Missouri or Kansas has offered this kid?  Enormous red flag right there.  

ComputerEngineer

December 19th, 2017 at 3:39 PM ^

Yeah, I read it.  That does absolutely nothing to assuage my concern.  Kansas still has plenty of spots left in their class, and none of their current commits are WRs.  Kansas City is right in their backyard.  Why haven't they offered?

 

"It was reiterated to me that Bell would likely have "multiple" high-level offers if he had focused on football throughout the entirety of his recruitment rather than basketball."

 

Reiterated by who?  Probably his coach would be my guess.  Not exactly an unbiased third party.  Regardless, this quote is worthless without a source.

ComputerEngineer

December 19th, 2017 at 4:06 PM ^

Exactly.  Why would we waste time scouting him if he had already committed to play basketball elsewhere?

 

The answer: we probably didn't scout him, and instead are offering him solely based on highlight tapes.  That makes me nervous.  

Bigly yuge

December 19th, 2017 at 3:08 PM ^

I began coaching football with the WR unit so I enjoy breaking down any WR's who commit to Michigan.

Pros: Good to great vision as a ball carrier after the catch, very solid vertical leap, does not shy away from contact, solid hands, and his long stride could benefit his deep route potential

cons: Lacks top end speed, not a precise route runner yet, small frame that needs at least 15 pounds added to it, has a slow discombobulated release off the los

Make no mistake, this kid is a project, however, he does have some really good potential to be one of those thorn in your side type guys like Roy Roundtree & Jeremy Gallon. If this kid works hard I fully expect him to be a contributor as a junior and senior. I see a high three star guy, with four star potential. Nice find by Jim and company.

Kevin13

December 19th, 2017 at 3:30 PM ^

the kid is athletic as all hell.  He has very good hands and incredible leaping ability. He needs a few things cleaned up, but nothing that an RS year won't fix. He could be one hell of a slot guy for us, with the ability to move outside on occassion. Sure his speed may not be top end, but they can make him quicker.

I think he has a chance to play some as a RS Freshman and could see him as a punt returner also.

TrueBlue42

December 19th, 2017 at 3:11 PM ^

Does anyone feel similarly?

Also, it is worth mentioning that some positive things took place this past weekend with Otis Reese: the Luke Bryan/ Reese Parents/ Frey & Partridge photo as well as a tweet from Otis in a Michigan pullover.

champswest

December 19th, 2017 at 3:18 PM ^

left foot in that top photo. It seems to be pointing in the opposite direction that he is going. Is that even possible? I tried to recreate that pose and I think I wrenched my knee and sprained my ankle at the same time.

bronxblue

December 19th, 2017 at 3:24 PM ^

He's a project, but this class feels like it's got a couple of those guys.  Coaches must like what they see because they don't necessarily need to a take a flyer on someone just for the sake of filling scholarships; last year's haul means you could conceivably skip the spot this year without there being a huge hole.

ToledoWolverine

December 19th, 2017 at 5:01 PM ^

As one who tries to temper my excitement over the highly rated prospects, I want to also keep a level head about the not so highly rated ones. We won’t truly know what this class has for 2-3 years. Trust in the coaches and trust in the kids to work and become their best selves. Selfs? Selves? Whatever, you get my meaning

MichiganStan

December 19th, 2017 at 6:10 PM ^

How can it be dissappointing?

We went 8-4...........Couple that with all the negative publicity Michigan got with losing all our big games. Michigans 8-4 record might as well have been 4-8 because the national media LOVES to hate Michigan and feed the Michigan haters. 

Were lucky we even have the #12th ranked class

When he ARE successful in 2018s season then 2019s class will be a MONSTER. Already is a mini fetus monster with the ones we have committed

Skidmark

December 19th, 2017 at 3:51 PM ^

I've been reading stuff on this blog for a year now and also the comments.  Today I just set up my account so I can weigh in on the important issues of the day, football-wise.  Don't know how upvote and downvote works, but my instincts tell me I'm going to be a huge upvote getter in the coming days, months and years.

I'm probably older than most of you and often times wonder why I spend so much time wondering and worrying about whether a particular 16 or 17 year old high school kid is going to choose UM over OSU, Georgia or  . . . .  Anyone else feel like "hey, I need to get a life".

That's all for now.  Let the upvotes begin.  When I get enough, do I get to turn them in for a small bag of curly fries?