Michigan wide receiver Ronnie Bell is back!
After suffering a season-ending injury in Week 1 against Western Michigan last year, Bell decided to return to Ann Arbor for a fifth year of eligibility. Recently, he joined Michigan alum Jon Jansen on the In the Trenches podcast to discuss his journey back from injury, lessons he learned and expectations for his 2022 season.
When asked about what his road back to Michigan, the former (and probably future) team captain described it as a rebuild to form.
“I feel like it has been a lot of work,” Bell said. “Feeling like you were taken out of position and now you have got to build yourself back up. I feel like that’s the mindset I’ve had and what I have been doing for the last year — just building myself back to where I need to be.”
A player with Bell’s experience is all too familiar with that high level. Despite missing 13 games last season and only playing in six due to Covid in 2020, Bell has still played in 27 career games, racking up 83 catches for 1,380 yards and five touchdowns.
When asked if he is ready to roll for the season, Bell didn’t hesitate: “Absolutely, I feel really good,” he said. “Running a dig (route) as hard as I can was one of the biggest things I was in my head about and being able to do that was a big, big step in the confidence. I feel like I’m 100% but definitely taking a hit will always help (re-acclimate to the game).”
In regards to handling the target on their back from being Big Ten champions, Bell exuded the mindset of someone with a permanent edge and still having something to prove: “I feel like this season the chip is just as big as it’s ever been and I feel like that’s the only way to approach it.”
The wide receiver room has grown in size and talent since Bell last played. Aside from one-year Wolverine Daylen Baldwin departing, every other wide receiver returns and the room also welcomes a trio of talented freshmen in Darrius Clemons, Amorion Walker and Tyler Morris.
Bell — the elder statesman — was asked how he is helping this group prepare.
“The details of the position. Making sure they understand you can’t take those little things for granted like where your foot is placed in the cut when you’re making a move or running a route, just the slightest things that can elevate your game. You can’t take those things for granted.”
Aside from helping the underclassmen, Bell expects a lot out of himself this season, but didn’t need numbers to express his goals: “Dominate. I just want to play. I just want to dominate.”
You could feel the excitement in every syllable.
And lastly, when asked about the goals head coach Jim Harbaugh expressed at the Big Ten Media Days (1. Beat Michigan State and Ohio State, 2. Win the Big Ten, 3. Win the National Championship) and how much they discuss them in practice:
“I feel like it’s a daily thing that comes up because that is the goal and that’s what’s in front of us.”
Continuing further regarding skeptics calling last year a one-off title and what it would mean to go to Columbus and beat Ohio State:
“Yeah, it would just kind of shove that in everyone’s face that said it’s a one off.”
Welcome back, Mr. Bell.