We continue our series as we look at each potential contributor on Michigan's roster in numerical order and look at what would be a stellar, standard and subpar season in 2020.
We're on to No. 8, junior wide receiver Ronnie Bell.
As a former Missouri State basketball commit, Bell has already far exceeded expectations at Michigan and he still has two full seasons to put up more impressive numbers.
Last year as a sophomore, Bell paced the Wolverines in catches and yards with 48 and 758, respectively. He only scored once, which is low for how often he had the ball, but it was still an outstanding season given the fact that he played the same position as Nico Collins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and Tarik Black.
At 6-0, 184 pounds, Bell is the perfect compliment to Collins and the smaller, shiftier slot guys, Mike Sainristil and Giles Jackson. Bell has a knack for getting open, is tough as nails, is great after the catch and can absolutely jump out of the building.
Bell is going to be option 1b or 2, so what will that look like?
Aside from the touchdown total I'd say Bell's 2019 season was stellar, so any type of improvement on that would be another step in the right direction. I think Nico Collins is going to blow up as a senior, which makes you wonder if there is room for Bell to blow up too.
If Bell eclipses 50 catches, 800 yards and grabs four or five touchdowns, that would be a stellar season. If at the same time Collins is going for 60, 1,000 and double-digit scores, Michigan is winning a lot and Josh Gattis is sleeping well at night.
I actually think a standard season for Bell would be slightly less productive than last year. If he didn't quite reach the catch and yardage numbers, but scored a couple more touchdowns, I'd chalk that up as a successful and standard year. I only say that because Michigan is breaking in a new quarterback who will almost certainly look to Collins often while also getting second-year players Mike Sainristil, Giles Jackson and Cornelius Johnson in the mix. Sprinkle in the tight ends and Chris Evans and I think there are just a lot of weapons for Gattis to implement, which could result in slightly lower overall numbers for Bell.
I really don't see any way that Bell can have a subpar year. With Donovan Peoples-Jones and Tarik Black gone, Bell should get targets even with the emergence of the younger players. In the unlikely scenario where he's somehow he's passed by Jackson or Sainristil, or gets dinged up, that would be the only way I see a big enough dip in production to call his junior season subpar.
As for that production, less than 40 catches and 650 yards, with one or two touchdowns would be a disappointment for Bell in year three. I don't see it happening, but that's what it would take.
This one is a bit tricky for me to project. On one hand, two of Michigan's productive receivers in DPJ and Tarik Black are gone, meaning there should be plenty of production for Bell to gobble up. At the same time, the sophomore trio is going to be a year better, which could eat up a lot of those numbers left behind by Peoples-Jones and Black.
I think the most likely scenario is Bell having a season very similar to last year, which would be in the standard range. He was really good in 2019, so it wouldn't be a bad thing for him to repeat that in 2020. I would almost guarantee that he finds the end zone more than one, but the rest of his numbers might end up being pretty comparable.
If somehow both he and Collins blow up, watch out for the Wolverines and enjoy Josh Gattis while he's in Ann Arbor.