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ESPN names Michigan’s “unheralded star” for 2020

Every Michigan fan knows exactly how important this player is to the team

Michigan State v Michigan Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines are considered by ESPN as a top-25 team in the country, and we are certainly grateful for it as it keeps giving us something to talk about it. The four-letter network continues to post little tidbits for each of their top-25 teams only available for ESPN+ subscribers. This time it is each team’s “unheralded star” and it comes in the form of Michigan wide receiver Ronnie Bell.

The offense came on late last season, hitting a stride, so not many people were looking at Michigan’s offensive players as stars early on. Wide receiver Bell also wasn’t a household name with some of the receivers Michigan had on its roster, but he led the Wolverines in receiving yards. He had only one touchdown on the season, but Bell consistently made big plays in times of need and seemed to be in the right place at the right time for Michigan last season. — Tom VanHaaren

Bell could be considered a great choice for an outsider looking in at the Michigan Wolverines’ roster, especially as he played in the shadow of the two stars that were Nico Collins and Donovan Peoples-Jones last season. But most know just how important Bell was to the success of this team last season.

Despite scoring only one touchdown in the 2019 campaign, Bell led all Wolverines in not just receiving yards (mentioned by VanHaaren), but also receptions. His big-play ability was also paramount to an offense that struggled with the heavy-hitters for the majority of the season. He was one of just three wide receivers with receptions of 50-plus yards.

After a dropped pass against Penn State that cost them the football game, Bell responded well posting consistent numbers for the remainder of the season after a traumatic experience of receiving hate emails from fans. Harbaugh responded in a press conference saying, “We would take as many Ronnie Bell’s as we could get on this team. How far he has come and what he has done for our team, the way he played in the game (against Penn State), he was one of our top performers. He consistently is game in and game out.”

Unheralded would be a great term for how Bell’s career began at Michigan. He was a three-star and the 1473rd player in the country who was expected to play collegiate basketball over football. But, he stuck it out with football and found his way to becoming an immediate role player on the Michigan roster scoring two touchdowns in his first season in 2018.

Now, entering his junior season, Bell is expected to be a large part of the offense in the on-two punch that will be Bell and the aforementioned Collins. If he starts the season as unheralded, with how well the offensive was clicking at the end of last season, I wouldn’t expect him to have many doubters for much longer.