When the calendar turn to 2020, Ronnie Bell was still a member of a wide receiver room that included Nico Collins and Donovan Peoples-Jones. After some attrition on the depth chart due to an NFL Draft decision and an eventual pandemic-related opt-out, Bell now finds himself as the elder statesman in a room with a lot of first and second-year players.
The junior, who was also Michigan’s most productive wideout last year, spoke to the media on Thursday afternoon about his standing in receiver meetings.
“In the last year or so, I guess I realized it more, especially with all those guys gone now,” Bell said. “I’m low key kinda old. All the younger guys, every day in practice, I just want to show them the effort it takes, whether you get the ball or not, when you’re out there blocking on the edge – I just want to show the guys the intensity you have to play with. Especially with the tall guys leaving. We’re not as tall anymore. So we’ve definitely gotta be more feisty than what we were.”
He also addressed the quarterback situation in Ann Arbor and the rapport that he has built with presumed starter Joe Milton.
“With Joe specifically, me and him got back to Ann Arbor a lot sooner than everybody else,” Bell said. “I think me and him both have been here since April. So me and him got a lot of work in together in that time period, because it was literally just me and him in Ann Arbor. Nobody else was here.
“And Cade (McNamara) and I also worked. Cade’s put in extra work as well. That’s like before or after practice. Cade and I have thrown in a random field before. Both of those guys, it’s constant. It’s never stopping for either one of them. And I think that’s why they’re so good at what they do. They love the game so much. Every day, they want more work, they wanna do more work. I’m lucky enough to just be able to tag along with them.”
Bell has been as campus almost as long as Milton has and does note that the progress that has been made has been impressive and that he is currently playing the best football of his career.
“Not necessarily the throws, but all-around game, I guess, Joe as a quarterback – I talked about it with one of the guys about a week ago, and this is the best I’ve ever seen Joe,” Bell said. “Joe got here a semester before me, but I’ve been around Joe as much as anybody and he’s just lights out right now. It’s just very exciting to play alongside him. Like I said, I told the guys the other day, this is the best I’ve seen him play.”
We’ll have more from his session as the day goes on.