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Michigan football has lost three players to transfer this week, including two new additions Friday when quarterback Russell Bellomy and tight end Keith Heitzman announced their decisions via social media.

Running back Justice Hayes earlier in the week said he was offered an opportunity to remain for his fifth season by new coach Jim Harbaugh, but revealed in an Instagram post this week that he will be a graduate school transfer and will play somewhere else this fall.

Bellomy also will graduate this spring and wrote on Instagram that he plans to transfer. He had fallen deep in the quarterback depth chart. Heitzman will graduate this spring and said in a lengthy Instagram post on Friday that he is moving on but said Michigan is "destined for greatness in the future."

Heitzman, who moved to tight end last season after Jake Butt suffered a knee injury a year ago, wrote that the last few years with the Wolverines provided an "unforgettable journey".

"I have always blamed my struggles on external factors and never realized that all of this was part of the process of becoming a Michigan man," Heitzman wrote. "It has been the most challenging yet rewarding 4 years of my life and for that I will be forever grateful.

"However, this moment right now has manifested itself into the toughest experience as of yet. As of right now I will leave this great institution in the spring with a degree in hand and friendships that will last a lifetime. I have to make the best possible decision for me, therefore, I feel like I need to explore my options."

Since Harbaugh took the job Dec. 30, replacing Brady Hoke who was fired after four seasons, the Wolverines have witnessed a handful of departures. In addition to the three this week, offensive lineman Kyle Bosch and linebacker Michael Ferns have transferred from Michigan to West Virginia.

Bellomy has had a rocky football career at Michigan, including a season-ending injury that forced him to sit out the 2013 season. With Shane Morris, a junior-to-be who was Devin Gardner's backup last season, returning, along with redshirt freshman Wilton Speight and early enrollee freshman Alex Malzone projected to be the main competitors for the starting job at quarterback this fall, Bellomy likely would have been on the outside looking in.

"To those of you that know me well, I always try my hardest never to get emotional; however, I write this with a heavy heart," Bellomy wrote on Instagram explaining his decision to transfer. "My heart is packed full of experiences, acquaintances and irreplaceable memories that I will reminisce on for the rest of my life. I love each and every one of my teammates, both former and present, and I hope y'all know that every day I busted my butt for you and the benefit of UM.

"I will receive my degree at the end of this semester and have decided to sign my release that enables me to play my 5th year as a graduate student at another university. I pray that you respect my decision and support me in whatever I do, because this was not an easy process. I am forever grateful to have attended and played for UM and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. 'For I know the plans I have for you...' #GoBlueAlways".

angelique.chengelis@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/chengelis

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