A interesting article came out today in the Detroit News, including an interview of Ronnie Bell's coach. His coach has some interesting things to say about Ronnie, and I'm loving the no-nonsense approach he takes to the game and am really hoping that he is an undiscovered gem.
“Ronnie never attended a single camp or do the other things kids do to get recruited. Ronnie never did that. He played in games and practiced with us while other kids were going to this and that. He was declining invitations. “Colleges were saying, 'Come here and run a 40,' and he would skip that to come to weights and football practice that afternoon. He didn't get out on the radar, he wasn't chasing them down, and some schools would come in and see the film and were ready to bite, but I think they were waiting for someone to bite first, and then it took off when football season started and he was a freak since Week 1. We all saw it, we knew it, but I think the schools just missed.”
So obviously this is just his coach's opinion, but I did a little background digging and he can back it up. I don't want to regurgitate Ace's wonderful Hellow Ronnie Bell post, but some is included to compare him to his rivals. While he amassed 89 catches for 1605 yards, 24 td's and 163 yards rushing during his senior season, he invited a lot of triple teaming as he was a known high risk threat and was fine pulling coverage. His senior team also lost three games, so his stats aren't what they could have been had he played with repeat state champs Christian Brothers with Kamryn Babb.
You see some wide receivers that are 'give me the ball,' and he'll take the football 20 times, but he would also come to the sidelines and say, 'Look, they're triple teaming me, so I'll take them away, let's run the ball and get this win.'”
As a result the coaches in Missouri and Kansas voted him the best player in greater Kansas City. However, enter lazy recruiting services and his lack of attendance at any camp (perhaps), he's ranked as the 18th top recruit and 4th WR out of just Missouri. Both wide receivers Kamryn Babb and Cameron Brown were high four stars and both committed to OSU (and while Babb was out his senior year due a torn ACL, it's not clear that he would have outperformed Bell as his junior stats don't compare with Bell either, at 149 yards rushing, and 784 receiving yards and 14 TD's while playing for the best team in the state). Brown's senior season consisted of 58 passes for 931 yards and 13 TD's. Dominic Gicinto who played against Bell and lost out to him for the Simone award also scores ahead of Bell.
It's also been mentioned by some recruiting sites that its hard to guage his play against decent competition. However Park Hill, Bells school, plays decent competition and finished 8th in the state this year with a 10-3 record against mostly quality opponents. (They play the regular season in the Kansas City loop instead of the St. Louis district with Christian Brothers).
Finally, based on what his coach is saying he looks really football smart and like a true Michigan leader:
It was common to see Bell in-between series with an iPad talking to his teammates and his quarterback about the defenses they were seeing and what would be open. It was also common to see him with his high school coaches on the weekend. “He came to our Sunday coaches meetings,” Hood said. “He came to every single one of them. We would gather on Sundays, go over the offensive and defensive game plan together, and he was at every one of them, ate food, watched through the gameplan and knew everything that was going on.
Finally, if recruiting is based in part on subsequent offers, it appears that Bell has gotten a lot of interest from P5 schools for football since committing to Michigan, but his coach is saying that he is shooting them down and doesn't even want to talk, that he's all in with Michigan. Go ahead and add a bunch of likely offers to his 247 page and see what happens to his ranking. In short, OSU can have the other two; had Ronnie attended camps and been more selfish in senior play, he looks more like a top 50 and top 10 WR recruit, and I'd rather have someone who is more interested in getting better than improving his paper standings. Go Blue!