Saturday’s senior day at The Big House was a celebratory affair, with players such as Aidan Hutchinson, Hassan Haskins, Josh Ross, Brad Hawkins, Jake Moody and many others ending their career in Ann Arbor on the highest of notes with Michigan’s 42-27 thumping of Ohio State.
One player who did not join those names on the field was standout receiver Ronnie Bell, who was unfortunately lost for the season with an ACL injury during the very first game. While the Wolverines have been impressive all year long, it is hard not to feel the absence of the reliable pass catcher amidst a fairly young receiving core.
When the official Twitter account was posting Jim Harbaugh’s thoughts on each member of the senior class, the head coach’s quote on Bell really stuck out:
The notable part is obvious: “A shining star who will crush his rehab to come back to Michigan next year and to build upon his legacy as a great player and team leader”
It would be a little unusual for the school to tweet such a line without absolute certainty regarding the subject. Maize and Blue Review has confirmed what most already assumed to be the case, which is that Bell will in fact be returning next season.
Bell is a stellar receiver and huge part of the team, serving as an offensive captain. However, his draft prospects are not as high as some others at the position, so like Eli Brooks, it makes a ton of sense for him to come back and play out a fifth year at Michigan.
What it means next year
While he does not find the end zone a ton, Bell has been a major part of the offense during his career, leading the team in both catches and receiving yards in each of the past two seasons; he led the (extremely talented) 2019 receiving corps with 48 receptions and 758 yards and then posted 26 receptions and 401 yards in the shortened 2020.
No single player has been able to step into Bell’s shoes this year, but next season will have a ton of electric options. Cornelius Johnson and Andrel Anthony are big play threats outside, Roman Wilson, A.J. Henning, and Mike Sainristil embody the idea of speed in space, and incoming four-star Tyler Morris has a ton of talent as well. Adding Bell back to the mix is massive.
What stands out most about Bell is his versatility. He can play any and every role and will do whatever it takes to help out his quarterback. His return is an unquestioned win for the Wolverines in 2022.