It appears a previous report of Dennis Norfleet‘s status with Michigan has been exaggerated. After initial reports suggested Michigan dismissed Norfleet, now there are multiple reports saying Michigan has instead suspended the special teams star instead.
The conflicting reports come from Scout and ESPN. The reason for the suspension is still unknown, although ESPN‘s report backs up previous reports suggesting academic issues at play. Michigan representatives continue to say the issue is an internal manner.
The word that Norfleet had been dismissed by Michigan caught fire when his high school football coach, Dale Harvel, told MLive.com “Evidently he was dismissed from the team,” and “Dennis informed us he was no longer on the team.”
Norfleet had been playing multiple positions in spring practices in all three areas of the game — offense, defense and special teams. New head coach Jim Harbaugh had praised his versatility this spring as well and suggested Norfleet may even be able to play on all three units this season.
It has been quite an eventful 24 hours for the Michigan Wolverines. A day after news broke of Michigan self-reporting some minor NCAA violations under new head coach Jim Harbaugh, the Wolverines have dismissed kick returner Dennis Norfleet.
A report by Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com quotes a high school coach of Norfleet’s saying the kick return specialist is no longer a part of the program in Ann Arbor. The specifics of the dismissal are unknown and left in the rumor mill for now. As of now, the only explanation is a violation of team rules, although academics appear to be playing a role. Wolverine 247 reports Norfleet skipped more than one final exam in April.
“Evidently he was dismissed from the team, Dennis informed us he was no longer on the team,” Dale Harvel, Norfleet’s high school football coach, told MLive.com. “Something about a disciplinary thing between him and coach Harbaugh. Whether it was academics or something internal, I’m not sure. He just said they had a disagreement and he was let go.”
Harbaugh was most recently excited about the possibility of Norfleet playing in all three areas of the game in some capacity after giving him playing time in spring practices on offense and defense in addition to his special teams duties. So much for that, it seems.
Norfleet is Michigan’s all-time leader in kick returns and kick return yards. With Norfleet no longer in the fold, look for the Wolverines to try using Jabrill Peppers on special teams. That has potential to work out OK for Harbaugh.