Fitz Toussaint may have been listed as Michigan’s starting running back for Saturday’s game against Alabama, but the team’s leading rusher from a year ago won’t take the field first. Or, at all.
Finally shedding light on a what has been a vague subject, Brady Hoke said Friday that Toussaint and defensive end Frank Clark did not make the trip to Dallas for the game against the Tide. The two were suspended for separate incidents, and although admitted back to practice this month, their status for the season opener had been a mystery.
Here’s the statement from Hoke:
“The decision was not easy, but I feel it is in the best interest of this program and for these kids, and those always will be my priorities. We have choices every day, and you have to be accountable to this program, your teammates, your family and the University of Michigan.
“These are our sons. These are real lives, and I think, too often, many people forget that. It’s not always just about football, or a football decision. It’s about teaching life lessons, and if this helps these kids or someone else make a right decision later, then we’ve won. That is, ultimately, what we are here for, to help them grow and mature to become better sons, fathers, husbands and members of society.
“They are good young men who made poor choices, and we will continue to support them as members of our team and family.”
Toussaint was arrested July 21 and hit with a drunk driving charge, but that was eventually reduced to operating a vehicle while visibly impaired, to which he pleaded guilty. Clark was charged around the same time as Toussaint with second-degree home invasion stemming from the alleged theft of a MacBook Air from a student’s dorm room this past June.
The Wolverines already enter Saturday’s game as a two-touchdown underdog. Though boxer Floyd Mayweather has his own reasons to believe Michigan will cover the spread against the Tide, the loss of Toussaint could ultimately spell bad news on that front.