Norfleet kicked off UM team after 'rough semester'

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Dennis Norfleet

Dennis Norfleet has been kicked off the Michigan football team after a "rough semester" academically, his former high school coach, Detroit King's Dale Harvel, told The Detroit News on Tuesday.

He was released from his scholarship and barred from Michigan's football facilities, and from receiving assistance from UM's academic tutoring staff, Harvel said.

Norfleet was about to enter his senior season as the Wolverines' primary kickoff returner, a role that he has filled since he was a UM freshman.

A Michigan athletic department spokesman told The Detroit News that the situation was "an internal matter."

Harvel said Norfleet has earned 90 credit hours at Michigan.

"He'd love to graduate from Michigan but he'd also love to play (via transfer), so he's got some big-boy decisions to make," Harvel said.

"He had a rough semester. That's the wrong time for that to happen with a new coaching staff coming in."

Dale Harvel

Harvel, however, was disappointed in how Norfleet's Michigan career unfolded.

"I don't think Michigan was ever a good fit for Dennis," Harvel said. "He committed to Cincinnati his sophomore year and that was the type of place he should have went and could have played. But everyone associated with him didn't see it that way.

"I'm not upset with how (Jim) Harbaugh is doing things. I'm going to do things at King for King's advantage. But it's up to the parents and kids to make up their minds about where they want to go."

Harvel added about Norfleet's situation: "If only one kid out of 120 is missing class, they must be the No. 1 program in the country (for football players' academic achievements)."

Due to his speed and athleticism, Norfleet was occasionally at receiver, as well, and saw significant time in the secondary during Michigan's spring game in April.

Norfleet had 94 career kickoff returns for 2,203 yards and 15 punt returns for 90 yards. He also had 21 receptions for 157 yards.

During the spring game, Norfleet had one catch for seven yards for the Maize team, and on defense, he made three tackles.

"Three quarters through spring we started playing Dennis as a nickel corner, and he took right to it," Harbaugh said after the game. "From the first day he was pretty darn good. I think you're going to look at the possibility of Dennis being a three-way player -- offense, defense, and special teams. Excited about that."