Previewing Michigan's WR room with Ron Bellamy: Tyler Morris, Semaj Morgan & more 'ready for the opportunity' (2024)

It's no big secretMichigan football has a lot of production to fill at wide receiver. The room, which lostCornelius Johnsonand Roman Wilson to the NFL,…

Alejandro Zuniga

It's no big secretMichigan football has a lot of production to fill at wide receiver. The room, which lostCornelius Johnsonand Roman Wilson to the NFL, returns only two receivers who had more than five catches in 2023.

"I think we've got some explosive guys. And obviously I think it's a top loaded room," offensive coordinator Kirk Campell said after the Spring Game. "We need to get some guys to help out there. We probably will look at some guys in that position — how many, I'm not sure. We just don't even have numbers. You look at the roster depth, you need enough guys. Hamstring injuries are going to happen, quad injuries. So we just got to make sure we have enough guys to field the roster."

The Wolverines did get a guy:C.J. Charleston, who arrives in Ann Arbor after five seasons with Youngstown State. He joins a room led by Tyler Morris and Semaj Morgan. During the Spring Game, Michigan did not keep official stats, but Fred Moore and Kendrick Bellflashed. The tight ends, including Colston Loveland, Marlin Klein andDeakon Tonielli also contributed as pass-catchers.

"I think we're going to be an extremely explosive offense," Cambell said. "We've got really explosive players, and it's my job to get them involved."

Michigan'swide receivers coach, Ron Bellamy, joined In the Trenches this week to preview his position group. Here's what he said:

How doesMichigan footballreplaceso much experience at wide receiver?

That's a great question. Something we're excited about. We had a great spring with the guys. Now, here's the thing I think a lot of people forget is that they played a lot. In the sense of: Tyler Morris played over 300 snaps last year. Semaj Morgan played over 200. Fred Moore played just under 100 snaps last year. Peyton O'Leary came on at the end of the year. So we do have the experience.

Now the guys understand the production has to step up and they're ready. They're ready for the opportunity. They're smart. They're tough. They're Michigan.

They're Michigan men. And these guys understand what the expectations are. They're perfecting their craft daily. They are. The thing I love about our room is the guy is happy for the next man's success. They were happy for Roman and Cornelius and Ronnie the year before. And now those guys understand that the torch is passed to them and they got to bring it.

And spring ball was evident of that. The guys had a tremendous spring. And we're going to keep growing every day.

Who are the leaders in Michigan's WR room?

All the guys. Everyone brings something different to the table.

I would say the alpha in the room right now is Tyler Morris. He comes in with the most experience. He's the oldest, and he's a quiet leader. He doesn't say anything, but when he does, his voice is so loud. And the guys understand that.

T-Mo wants the best for everyone. And just the way he attacks the game, attacks the meetings, attacks practice.

Everyone brings it. Semaj, he's a younger guy. But I'd say he's the vocal guy in our room. Which is kind of cool to see a young guy do that. We really haven't had that since a young Ronnie leading the room like that.

I don't mind a young guy having a voice in the room just because I've experienced it playing here with the guys like David Terrell, Larry Footes of the world.

Those guys were young. They were dawgs, you know. The guys respected them just the way they approached the game.

Who are the new contributors in Michigan's receiver room?

All the guys are exceptional at what they do. Semaj is proving that. Tyler's proving that. And you guys saw glimpses of Fred Moore last year and glimpses of Peyton O'Leary.

Now, a couple of guys we're super excited about is obviously Kendrick Bell. Kendrick, if you know anything about Kendrick, he's a younger brother of Ronnie. But that's the one thing we're going to talk about: We got to change your name. No longer do people know you as Ronnie's little brother. You need to be known as Kendrick Bell.

Kendrick was a quarterback in high school that as we evaluated him, we thought that he was a phenomenal athlete.

He was an all-state basketball player. He was a state champion in high jump and state champion in the long jump in Kansas City, Missouri. Obviously he's a Kansas City kid. But we knew that he had some of those traits that we look for in receivers: Can they jump? Can they run? Can they change direction? How explosive are they? And he checked all those boxes.

Last year he played receiver in a reserve role. He was a scout team guy. And this spring he had an opportunity with our numbers that he had a chance to go against Will Johnsons of the world and Jyaire Hills of the world, Keshaun Harris, some of the older guys. And he held his own, did some good things. And in the Spring Game he showed some flashes of what he's capable of doing. We're super excited about him.

Amorion Walker came back to the family and he's here. Obviously I had him freshman year as a receiver and moved to corner. And now he's coming back as a receiver. He gives us the length and speed that when we recruited him out of Ponchatoula, Louisiana, that's what we were looking for: A 6'4" guy that could stretch the field. And he's another one that could jump out the gym and extraordinary talent. And we're excited about him.

And C.J. Charleston: Older guy. I thought we needed an older guy in our room, someone that can be a leader with experience. Played at Youngstown State, but he's also played Big Ten.

He's been in the Shoe, he's played against Ohio State. He's been in East Lansing, he's played against the Spartans. So he's played Big Ten competition, had success. You watch the game film, see him going in there. He's a perfect fit for us. We're super excited about him.

And obviously our two incoming freshmen: Channing Goodwin, legacy kid, son of Jonathan Goodwin. Exceptional player coming from North Carolina. And I'marion Stewart coming out right outside of Chicago.

We were recruiting those guys for a couple years. And to get them, we're fired up about them too. They didn't do spring ball, but they're on campus now. And just excited to watch those guys grow and develop.

How has rising sophom*ore WR Semaj Morgan looked?

Semaj, he's awesome. I love Semaj. Obviously, we've been around each other since he was six years old. His dad was an assistant coach for me in high school. And obviously we were at the same high school.

But Semaj, he's a dawg. He's a guy that you show him how to do it once, and he's going to perfect it and keep it attacking and keep it attacking it. Semaj is 5'9", but he plays like he's 6'2". He's always been like that.

He's a guy that he's perfected his route running, his overall understanding of the game, like the how and why. How do we do it and why are we doing it? And the game slowed down tremendously for him in the spring.

The great thing about going against our defense is the variations and coverage that you see, and the fact that he's able to decipher that and see what the defense is trying to do to him, and the game is slowed down. We all know once the ball is in his hands, it could have been explosive at any point. So he's really honed in on that.

And I think his attention to detail, his route detail has been great. He's always been a great pass catcher. And in the run game, man, he's as physical as anyone I've ever been around.

I always call him, I said, 'That's my baby Steve Smith.' Steve Smith wasn't the biggest guy, but he played like he was a mountain lion. And that's Semaj.

How do you manage the wide receiver room during the NIL era?

It's very different now. The kids have the Name, Image and Likeness and the kids are able to partake in different things. For us at Michigan, it doesn't change. Our mentality is just make sure that the kid is the right fit for Michigan. Make sure that the kid is driven by academics making sure the kid is driven by the culture that's been established here by Coach Harbaugh and coaches before him that Coach Moore is going to keep this thing rolling. So we just got to make sure it's the perfect fit for Michigan and the rest, in our eyes, will take care of itself.

How does Michigan pepare receivers like Roman Wilson and Cornelius Johnson for the NFL?

I think a lot of things we do in our training and development carries over to the NFL. I think it helps having a position coach that played the position at the same university, played in the NFL, and I think it also helps that a guy like myself, during the offseason, I'm going to different NFL teams teams and from a professional development standpoint, learning and bringing back some of those tools to our guys. So not only become better for Michigan, but when their careers are over here and they're going to the NFL, that those guys are playing at a high level and exceeding expectations.

Previewing Michigan's WR room with Ron Bellamy: Tyler Morris, Semaj Morgan & more 'ready for the opportunity' (2024)
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