Exeunt Dennis Norfleet Comment Count

Seth August 12th, 2015 at 11:45 AM

For a time he danced.


with bread

But he will not return.

As previously reported, Norfleet is gone-gone. Despite him telling his former teammates he'll miss them on Instagram and every insider-y thing saying it was already a foregone conclusion, some of us held out hope for as long as it took the coaches to say it was official. Michigan posting a fall roster without him on it was more confirmation. Tuskegee publishing a roster with him on it means it's time to give up the ghost.


Michigan enters fall camp with 2 or 3 open scholarships for this year, depending on whether you count the long snapper. Norfleet would not have affected next year's numbers.

I am sad.



August 12th, 2015 at 12:03 PM ^

It shouldn't be a surprise. His production on the field is nowhere proportional to the amount of coverage he's received on this site.

If he didn't dance while waiting for returns, this news would have passed without 13 threads. Not being mean, just stating a fact.


August 12th, 2015 at 12:24 PM ^

His production on the field was pretty limited by his coaches refusing to play him, and having three long returns called back for chintzy blocks that didn't affect the play. He rushed for 8.7 YPC, averaged 23.4 yards per kick return, and had 7.7 yards per target as a receiver, which was better than any Michigan receiver except Funchess. Being laughably underutilized had a lot to do with "his production on the field."

As for his coverage on this site, Norfleet got such because he was emblematic of the coaching staff's blind spot with regard to offense out of putting guys in space. This made him interesting, because normally you can count coaches not playing a guy as evidence that he's not as good as we think, but in this case there was mounting evidence that the coaches were just wrong with their evaluation. At its simplest, Borges hated the spread, and Nussmeier eschewed it, and Norfleet was the kind of guy a spread team could do a lot with.

So I wouldn't call what you stated a "fact." More like contrarianism.


August 12th, 2015 at 3:29 PM ^

You do know that kickoff return yardage doesn't mean it started at the goal line?  I mean, this is just yardage computed from where he started until he was stopped, and doesn't include knees in the endzone, which, again, is what most guys do when they are 10 yards deep.  

Norfleet wasn't an amazing kick returner by any means, but he certainly wasn't some liability in that department.


August 12th, 2015 at 12:57 PM ^

I'm sorry, I can't get excited about those stats. 1/4 of the guy's career rushing output came on one carry, a reverse, in a 60-point victory over Central Michigan.

Which skill player wasn't laughably underutilized on offense the past 3 years? There's a ton of Michigan players in the same boat as Norfleet. 

Good luck to him at Tuskegee. I hope he ends up like Fargas, Cox, Rawls, and the rest who leave and do well.


August 12th, 2015 at 11:52 AM ^

Honestly, the thing I'm most worried about is how did it get to this point? 


I've spoken to (non Michigan) college coaches. There are tutors and people tracking academic progress. Did no one know he was collecting credits to nowhere? 


And I wonder why he turned down the opportunity Harbaugh gave him to stay at UM and stay on the team?


In the end, I hope he does well on the field, gets his act together in the classroom, and ends up with a degree that is usefull towards getting a job.


August 12th, 2015 at 12:49 PM ^

exeo meaning "leave, depart" is intransitive (it takes no direct object).

The transitive meaning (in poetry and post-Augustan prose only) means "to go beyond, surpass" or "avoid". So it could only mean "they go beyond/surpass/avoid Dennis Norfleet".

Here's the Lewis and Short entry: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph?l=exeo&la=latin#lexicon


August 12th, 2015 at 12:53 PM ^

My friends and I talked about this. Other than a few here, why would you think he would have returned one, other than luck? Bad decision making, went down easy, and hit the holes slow. I don't know of anyone that was ever excited when he was back to return. I liked him in the offense, but not on returns.


August 12th, 2015 at 12:22 PM ^

I don't have anything against Norfleet; he's the career leader in Michigan history for KO yardage, and his average is the same as Derrick Alexander's.

My comment was directed at the countless opining here during the last three years alluding to a dynamic play-making ability that actually never seemed to surface during the games.


August 12th, 2015 at 12:22 PM ^

I think part of the sadness was his potential for effect that was wasted by the previous staff. We get one of those tiny speedy guys other teams use to make our lives miserable and the coaches think putting him in space to make things difficult for opposing defenses is communism.

His Dudeness

August 12th, 2015 at 12:06 PM ^

I was there for the dance and there was a thing that happened one punt before the dancing punt where Hoke mouthed "Not yet" to Norfleet. It always made me assume they had practiced this "situation" like, during a practice. It always seemed like the most Hoke thing ever and I still laugh about it with my buddy who I go to all the games with. Never in the history of the world would any other Michigan football coach allow this to happen.


Charles Martel

August 12th, 2015 at 12:11 PM ^

On the personal side, I am wishing Norfleet all the best.  I hope his decisions will improve his education and future.  

On the football side, there just wasn't enough production by Norfleet to warrant a lot of weeping and wailing about his exit.  On top of that, if he was offered a chance to stay with the team (and I'm assuming earn his way back on), and he turned it down, then all I can say is best of luck to you Denny boy.  

His Dudeness

August 12th, 2015 at 12:17 PM ^

Paraphrasing from Rivals, but basically Norfleet was given a chance to "earn his way back", but the coaches knew that would be basically impossible and had been proceeding assuming his departure.

I know nothing insider-y, but the nature of the issue was academic and I assume he did something like skip all of his exams or something of that nature, which would make it near impossible to be academically eligible.

I figure Jim told Norfleet if he could figure out a way to get his grades in order he would be welcome to rejoin the team but that just wasn't going to happen.

Ron Utah

August 12th, 2015 at 12:13 PM ^

Always liked Norfleet and hoped for that return we knew he was capable of.  Hope his career finishes well at Tuskegee.  I don't think he would have contributed much this year, so perhaps this is best for everyone.


August 12th, 2015 at 12:28 PM ^

Career he had less than 300 yards from scrimmage, never scored a touchdown, and although always looked like he had potential to break a  return, he never did. 

Yeah...I signed up just to post that. 


August 12th, 2015 at 4:22 PM ^

But why does it matter? He wouldn't have taken a scholarship for next year. He would have given us another experienced WR in the slot. He's a guy we know can be a decent kickoff and punt returner. What if we don't want Jabrill back there at the end of the year? We won't have Norfleet to fall back on. The bottom line is, if everybody on the team played with the heart of Dennis Norfleet we would never lose.


August 12th, 2015 at 12:31 PM ^

He did have one 60 yardish punt return that he took to the house, but is was called back by a completely unnecessary block in the back five yards behind the play.