INDIANAPOLIS — Despite back-to-back wins over arch rival Ohio State and consecutive Big Ten titles, Ronnie Bell selected to stray outdoors the norm this week when requested about his favourite school second.
The star Michigan receiver elected to choose one thing private, a second from fall camp in Ann Arbor when life appeared a bit extra regular.
“When I was able to go back out there and, like, practice,” Bell instructed reporters Friday on the NFL Scouting Combine. “I remember I just jumped, fell, was just so happy.”
He had absolutely recovered from a torn ACL that left him sidelined for a lot of the 2021 season, a 12 months that helped resurrect Michigan soccer and produce the Wolverines again into national-title dialog.
Bell was a key determine in toughing out these disappointing seasons of 2019 and 2020, rising as a revered, play-making menace on the skin. Now, standing at a podium through the week-long mix occasion designed to present NFL personnel and up-close-and-personal take a look at this 12 months’s draft prospects, every little thing got here full circle for for the 5-foot-11, 192-pound Bell.
“You dream about this experience,” he stated. “Every night, you kind of take a step back and realize how fortunate you are — how blessed you are — to be doing everything you’ve really worked for. For my dream of the NFL being this close — right at the edge of my fingertips — it’s the real deal.”
More: Michigan’s D.J. Turner runs sub-4.3 40-yard sprint at NFL mix
Truthfully, soccer wasn’t at all times within the playing cards for Bell, a two-sport star at Park High School in Kansas City. He was planning to Missouri State on a basketball scholarship when an Jim Harbaugh, appearing on a tip from an prolonged member of the family, referred to as.
That’s when every little thing modified.
“When I was in Kansas City, the biggest thing was just playing college football in general,” stated Bell, a two-time all-Big Ten honoree. “That was the first step. Once I was at the next level, then the next dream was being here.”
Bell’s athleticism and knack for getting open impressed the Michigan coaches, a lot in order that he performed in all 13 video games his true-freshmen season. He adopted it up in 2019 with a breakout 12 months, main the crew in catches (48) and receiving yards (758) en path to being named the crew’s offensive ability participant of the 12 months, and adopted it once more in 2020 with a team-best 26 catches and 401 receiving yards throughout a shortened schedule.
That left it as much as 2021, the 12 months Bell was speculated to take over and depart for the NFL draft. Then the harm occurred, in Week 1 of the season throughout a innocent wanting deal with on a punt return in opposition to Western Michigan.
“Last year when I took that step back, it kind of gave me a different perspective on the game and on life,” Bell stated. “I feel like a grown me as a person and as a man to really step in this now and have more confidence about it.”
Bell enters the NFL draft as a part of one other proficient wide-receiver class. He isn’t going to be a Day 1 decide, and can probably be relegated to the slot and particular groups, however he did sufficient on the Senior Bowl to warrant consideration as a prospect worthy of taking part in on the subsequent stage.
Ironically sufficient, this 12 months’s NFL draft will happen April 27-29 in Kansas City, his hometown, the place Bell may hear his title referred to as in entrance of a giant contingent of household and mates.
“It doesn’t even feel real,” Bell stated. “It all kind of comes full circle when you think about the timeline and how it all played out with me coming out this year. Definitely just really, really excited about it.”
How’s that for a fairytale ending?
Read extra on Michigan soccer:
DT Mazi Smith flashes freak energy at NFL mix
Outgoing Michigan tight finish opens up about taking part in for Jim Harbaugh
C.J. Stroud is so mad he by no means beat Michigan he practically returned to Ohio State
Ex-Michigan OC Josh Gattis reportedly returning to the Big Ten
Ok Jake Moody, Shrine Bowl MVP: ‘I’m value a draft decide’