UM receiver Dennis Norfleet's dancing earns him notice

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Michigan wide receiver Dennis Norfleet dances to the music being played over the loudspeakers late in the fourth quarter.             Photos are of the University of Michigan vs. Penn State University at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, October 11, 2014.   (David Guralnick / Detroit News)

Ann Arbor — Dennis Norfleet danced, and his teammates and coaches — and from the sound of it, the Michigan Stadium fans — loved it.


George Clinton's "Atomic Dog" blared, and Norfleet danced before kickoff and punt returns in Saturday night's game win against Penn State. Video of Norfleet's moves spread across the Internet and even caught the attention of Clinton, who tweeted his approval.

"The one thing about Dennis, you talk about a guy who brings energy every day and loves the game, this is what he has," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said Wednesday. "It was inspired. I don't know if any of us could do the dance he did. He brings a lot of energy. He's like that every day, and when the whistle blows, he's as focused as anybody on getting out and competing at a high level."

Receiver Amara Darboh is not on the kick or punt returns, so he had a sideline view of Norfleet's moves.

"I thought it was sweet," Darboh said. "I'm watching the whole thing, and I think it's sweet. He's a very energetic guy, even out in practice. I remember our first day when we came, he was talking a lot. At first I thought he was annoying and as soon as I got to know him and his personality, his energy, we feed off it.

"Sometimes when you go to practice and you're maybe tired or have something going on on the outside, and then seeing him have that energy makes you forget about everything else and makes you happy to be there."

During the Kentucky-South Carolina game on Oct. 4, 10 Kentucky players grouped together behind the kicker and began dancing. The players later said it energized the team and crowd, but special teams coach Craig Naivar told reporters he worried that while the dancing offered "great enthusiasm" it also was, in his mind, "fringing on getting a penalty."

But when the ball is not in play, there is no rule against dancing.

According to a Big Ten spokesman, what Norfleet did was absolutely fine. It is not considered a violation and is no different than, say, players jumping around on the sideline to music during breaks in play.