2018 commit WR Ronnie Bell: Info on why under the radar and potential

Submitted by Arb lover on January 4th, 2018 at 1:08 PM

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!



January 4th, 2018 at 1:14 PM ^

This is why stars don’t matter. There are thousands of high school students to “evaluate” and you have a bunch of experts that watch 30 minutes of a camp and label these guys what they want.


January 4th, 2018 at 1:28 PM ^

To say they don’t matter is silly. There’s a reason why the teams that finish high in recruiting rankings consistently usually finish the year ranked highly, with a few exceptions.

They are not the end all, be all. There will be busts and there will be diamonds in the rough.


January 4th, 2018 at 2:11 PM ^

This is accurate. Stars matter, but they're not everything. Sometimes, 4 and 5 star players are great high school players who can't cut it in the Power 5. Derrick Green comes to mind. Maybe they've already peaked and can't handle the next level, I don't know. But Baker Mayfield was a three star recruit, for instance. Sometimes the best players are these under-the-radar ones.

How else does Dantonio always field a good (though rarely great) team? Those rosters are mostly packed with 2- and 3-star players who no one else would look at. He's got an entire culture there of playing with a chip on your shoulder because everyone there can identify with being overlooked. It goes from the school to the individual players, too.


January 4th, 2018 at 8:16 PM ^

Our fan base is often blind with false narrative when it comes to MSU. They have had exactly (3) 2 star recruits (per 247) since 2014 and I believe one of those was a kicker. We act like they have a bunch of no talent pussies on the roster and it's just not the case. Plain and simple, all these kids are talented for the most part, we just haven't developed that talent to translate to big time success on the field like sparty has.....yet


January 4th, 2018 at 9:16 PM ^

Why does everyone bandy about "pussy" as if it means weakness? They're strong as hell. They can literally push babies through a tiny passage.

I hear your point overall. But it's still hard to deny that Michigan State's recruiting hasn't compared to ours or OSU's by the numbers. But they have had a lot more recent successes, albeit one tumultuous extra bad year. Which they turned around pretty quick.


January 4th, 2018 at 5:49 PM ^

Anyone who argues stars and recruiting have no bearing on results on the field are being silly.  However, on this blog I've seen arguments just as asinine on the other end of the extreme, dismissing Harbaugh's recruiting for signing players like Ronnie Bell.  The counter to this argument is apparent in Harbaugh's first full class, where a bunch of low 4 to low 3-stars look like serious players.
- Devin Bush (low 4-star, outside composite Top 300).

- Khaleke Hudson (3-star)

- Josh Metellus (low 3-star)

- Sean McKeon (low 3-star)

- Michael Dwumfour (low 3-star)


January 4th, 2018 at 1:29 PM ^


Top ranked recruits get enough eyeballs throughout their evaluation process. They mostly get what they should get. Personal motivation, bad health, injury, etc. can't be factored in during this time, hence we see some recruits pan out. Others don't. 

The trouble comes for the mid level recruits say, low 4*s to high 2s. Most recruits are in that band, and it is impossible to give them enough individual attention. Hence, diamonds in the rough found by MSUs of the world. If you run the numbers, successful 2s and 3s are still a small minority compared to successful 5s and 4s. 


January 4th, 2018 at 2:23 PM ^

I only have the pro bowl numbers, but the majority of NFL players (in the pro bowl at least) are 2 and 3 star players. 

A higher percentage of 4 and 5 star guys hit, but with a few exceptions it rarely seems like our highest rated recruit is our best player.   Mallett, Jabrill and Rashan are expections, but were also top top guys.


Will Campbell

Ryan Mallett

Donovan Warren

Ondre Pipkens

Kyle Kalis

Derrick Green




I still want the highly ranked guys, but there are lots of diamonds in the rough.



January 4th, 2018 at 3:02 PM ^

Right but that is only due to the sheer quantity of 2 and 3 star guys. Let’s say you are trying to field the best 11 players....and you have 1 5-star, 10 4-star, 100 3-star, and 1000 2-star guys to pick from. You could very well end up with 1 5-star, 1 4-star, 3 3-star, and 6 2-star in your lineup. Now would you rather have a random 5/4 star that hits at 100% or 10% here or would you rather have a 3/2 star that hits at 1% or 0.1% in this example just because the majority of your lineup is comprised of 2 and 3 stars?

In the end stars matter, any give 5 or 4 star is more likely to be a contributor than a 3 or 2 star guy. But obviously there will be contributors from the entire group.

I know that is along the lines of what you were saying, but I think it comes to the conclusion that any team would prefer the higher rated guys for the most part and the pro bowl stats you threw out mean nothing.

Ghost of Fritz…

January 4th, 2018 at 3:26 PM ^

Poor coaching (and never developing a really good QB) can make bad results from roster of 4 stars. 

And really good coaching can take a roster of 3 stars and beat the above poorly coached roster of 4 stars.

But the well coached roster of 3 stars will get blown out by a well coached roster of 4 stars. 

Perkis-Size Me

January 4th, 2018 at 2:01 PM ^

Stars DO matter if you want to win national championships. Why don't you ask Georgia and Alabama what they think about that, as they consistently both finish in the top five (or in Alabama's case, top overall) classes every single year. Ask OSU what they think about that when their talent level allows them to lose more than half their starters and still make the playoff the following year. 

Granted, stars are not the end-all, be-all. There are instances of two or three star guys turning into superstars. Malik Hooker, LeVeon Bell, Luke Kuechly, Khalil Mack, all of these guys were two or three star guys when going to college and became stars once they got there. At least three of them are stars in the league now. But the point is you're not going to find very often those types of three star guys who just happen to pan out and everything just clicks. You can't build a team with just those kinds of players and realistically expect to win a national championship. 

 See the MSU-Alabama game. MSU was a very scrappy, formidable, well-coached team going into the playoff, who had a lot of guys who "just panned out" because their coaches knew how to maximize their talents. And absolutely none of that mattered in the end. One team had a VAST talent advantage, and it showed almost immediately. Alabama had everything MSU had and more. 

His Dudeness

January 4th, 2018 at 3:49 PM ^

For all the thousands of kids that go to these camps every year you have 250 that are ranked. From there you have MAYBE 50 kids that deny invitations to these camps in order to "get better." Of those 50 kids you might have 5 that should be in the ranked 250... I'd say stars matter, guy.


January 4th, 2018 at 5:19 PM ^

your numbers are WAY off.

Depending on the service there are beween 30 and 50 five star recruits. Then depending on the service there are between 300-350 four star recuits. About ten years ago the services adjusted the 3 and 2 star dividing line so, where before the top 3rd of who was left got a 3 star ande every one else a two the boundary is now closer to 50/50 and covers about 2500 graduating hgh school seniors. 

So in the typical year around 3000 high school seniors get ranked. If indeed thousands of graduating high school players go to the camps, far far more than 250 are ranked.


January 4th, 2018 at 4:37 PM ^

and even less that can or want to make it academicaly at a school like Michigan.  That is the biggest diffrerentiator in recruiting (other than the bagmen).  Schools that have high academic standards like ND, Stanford, Michigan, etc. have fewer players that they can recruit.  Think of your typical high school football star, he has been coddled all the way through el-hi and is looking for his easiest path to the NFL.  He ain't going to college to play school.


January 4th, 2018 at 1:39 PM ^

Thanks for digging and sharing OP! His tape looks good, and Harbaugh/Staff like him. I'm on board. Rankings matter, hence why we are coveting Otis, and recruiting hard for Friday & Petit-Frere. But I'll take our coaches word on it when they have proven over and over again that they hit these diamonds in the rough.

Devin Bush was recruited harder than the higher ranked kids that year, Gil looks good, Metellus, Hudson, Oliver Martin, St. Juste, McKeon, Uche, Paye, Dwumfor, and the list is longer than this. Just wait till some of our OL hit as Juniors/Seniors. 


January 4th, 2018 at 3:24 PM ^

So nobody cared that Rashan Gary had a 3.8 in hs? Academics do matter, which is why we didn't get the safety and receiver from Ole Miss.


You are the only troll here.  Go back to your pathetic life


January 4th, 2018 at 3:28 PM ^

Holy shit you guys are cancer.  I complimented the dude.  I'm saying, it's weird that top programs reached out to him and he ignored them because he just didn't want to run a 40 for them.  I wonder how hard he will work at a top academic institution like Michigan if he is self indulgent.  We aren't Ole Miss and academics are important here, as Harbaugh showed by not playing Kareem Walker at all his first year due to academics.  It doesn't matter how good he is if he never goes to class.


People like you two make this board a shitty place to discuss our team.  


January 4th, 2018 at 4:03 PM ^

He sounds like the opposite of self-indulgent to me. The coaches quote said he didn't go run 40's or respond to college coaches interest because he preferred to be in the weight room and practicing. His coach is giving examples of him being self-less on the field and putting in the work behind the scenes, like going to coaches meetings on weekends. Not sure how you interpret avoidng the recruitment process as being self-indulgant. I'd have to imagine having famous college coaches give you positive attention is more self indulgant than attending your high school coaches meeting on a Sunday. 


January 4th, 2018 at 1:46 PM ^

Stars matter for a class as a whole, or for recruits nationwide.  But looking at a single player and defining him by a star ranking is not very useful.


January 4th, 2018 at 6:09 PM ^

Saban takes mostly high-ranked HS kids because on average they are more likely to develop into high-performing college players. But saban also recruits some 3* guys because in particular they have potential to develop into high-performing college players.

A roster is simply portfolio theory in practice for a coach - you want a large section of the portfolio to generate a strong return n average (4* and 5*) and some portion to be highly volatile with minimal investment (2* and 3*). You actually want some lower rated guys in place of 4* if they (lower rated) have super high ceilings.


January 4th, 2018 at 1:50 PM ^

His film looks a lot like the WRs you see performing right now in the Big 10, especially at places like PSU and MSU.  Not exactly a burner, but high points the ball well so he won a lot of 50/50 balls.  He also looks to be solid at making people miss in a phone booth.  Not an intimidating presence physically, but how many of the WRs we have had over the years that actually were standouts were?  I liked this commit, think he could be good.  


January 4th, 2018 at 2:28 PM ^

His senior year was pretty impressive, but based on his high school career as a whole, I don't think he'll be anything more than a better version of Grant Perry. I think he'll be an average college WR, but I don't think he'll necessarily be a "gem." Another lowly-rated WR the staff could've gone after was three-star WR Yo'Heinz Tyler out of Warren Easton. He has a bigger frame, is a good athlete for his size and his production in high school was very impressive.


January 4th, 2018 at 2:57 PM ^

looks like a decent project with potential, but he is super raw. His "routes" need a ton of work, hands look iffy (catches the ball with his body unless it was above his head). He was simply taller and more athletic than opponents so of course he put up numbers. Bell honestly looks quite a bit better, way more polish and offers a much higher floor.


January 4th, 2018 at 4:46 PM ^

The tape also indicated that prospects like Speedy Noil (5-star) and Artavis Scott (4-star) were superior to "raw" prospects like James Washington (3-star) back in 2013. However, statisically, Washington was much more productive than Noil, Scott and most of the higher ranked receivers. Again, I don't think Bell is terrible, but when comparing 3-star WRs, give me the one who is closer statistically to underrated prospects like James Washington.


January 4th, 2018 at 7:58 PM ^

I understand your thinking and it does work to find productive players, but Noil himself was raw as a receiver, he played mostly QB and running back in high school but had insane athleticism that made him a 5 star. Artavis Scott was a very good slot receiver, he had more catches in three seasons than Washington had in four full seasons in college (Washington had WAY more yards though). You say that you prefer players that put up big stats in high school similar to James Washington, but that would pretty much BE Ronnie Bell, here are senior year stats:

Washington: 73 catches, 1331 yards, 24 TDs, ranked #689, went to OkSU, TCU offer as well he was a very solid prospect, a higher end three star

Ronnie Bell: 89 catches, 1605 yards, 21 TDs, ranked #1509, ND and other P5 schools were very interested late in the process but were told not to bother, would be ranked much higher if fully commited to football and scouts have said as much.

Yo'heinz Tyler is ranked #1901 and his only P5 offer was from the worst of them all, Kansas, and he ended up signing with Ball St.

So, like you, I do think that Tyler is an intriguing player, but he is very much a boom or bust player, and there is a reason he is going to Ball State, as smaller schools live by taking lower floor projects like him and hoping they can put everything together and develop into great players.


January 4th, 2018 at 11:05 PM ^

Yes, I prefer players that produce in high school and, more importantly, sustain higher-end production for multiple years. If Ronnie Bell did in his sophomore and junior season what he did in his senior year, I'd be very excited about him committing to Michigan. Unforunately, his sophomore and junior seasons were very unimpressive. Washington, on the other hand, had two very good seasons before having his elite senior year. Also, notice how it took Washington 16 less receptions and almost 300 less yards to get three more touchdowns than Bell. When it comes to projecting future college receivers, I care most about how efficiently they get their yardage and TDs. If a guy, for instance, averaged 18.5 yards per reception and he scored, on average, a touchdown once every three receptions in his high school career, we can probably rely on that guy to make a positive impact on our football team without having to feed him a bunch of targets. Artavis Scott really wasn't as efficient as you'd expect from such a highly-rated high school player and, naturally, it only became tougher for him to become efficient at the college level. His college production was actually pretty unimpressive as it was almost entirely fueled by a high number of targets. It took him 42 games and 310 career targets to compile 2,480 yards and 19 touchdowns. In 51 games and with 413 career targets, Washington has 4,472 yards and 39 touchdowns. Washington, who was also the more efficient player in high school, ended up doing much more per target (and reception) at Oklahoma State than Scott did at Clemson. With only one season of efficient production, I don't think we can expect Bell to become anything close to the receiver Washington currently is. Michigan could've gotten a lot of prospects worse than Bell, but they also could've gotten a lot who are better.


January 4th, 2018 at 2:40 PM ^

I watched it and can confirm he has the talent to be a good college receiver. Doesn't have NFL combo of size and acceleration/speed right now, which combined with his total lack of camps he was bound to be a generic 3 star. I do think he is elite or has the potential to be elite in other areas (leaping/high-pointing, run after catch, routes, hands) and could be a very productive player.