August 25, 2011 - 10:26am
BY STEPHEN J. NESBITT
Standing behind the podium on National Signing Day six months ago, Michigan coach Brady Hoke received a slip of paper notifying him of one final commitment: four-star tight end Chris Barnett out of Hurst, Texas.
Hoke looked up with a smile.
"We need tight ends in our offense now," Hoke said.
But the last recruit to arrive became one of the first to leave.
Barnett tweeted Thursday morning that he is "no longer at the University of Michigan," and a university spokesperson confirmed Barnett's departure.
Barnett was not expected to see the field this season, as the Wolverines boast a tight end corps headlined by seniors Kevin Koger and Steve Watson. And Barnett may be looking toward the future making the decision, as Michigan has two highly ranked tight ends verbally committed for 2012: Farmington Hills Harrison's Devin Funchess and Cincinnati's A.J. Williams.
With a Sept. 3 matchup with Western Michigan just nine days away, Hoke has lost three players in the past four days. Freshman offensive lineman Tony Posada left Monday, junior receiver Je'Ron Stokes was gone Tuesday — and Michigan also lost freshman linebacker Kellen Jones in a transfer to Oklahoma last month.
Hoke has not given an explanation for any of the departures from fall camp. But he did give a comment on Tuesday regarding Stokes and Posada leaving.
“To be honest with you, it was the right thing for them and how they felt," he said. "We wish them the best, and they’re great kids. But, sometimes kids move on for different reasons - homesick or whatever it might be.
"I’m not going to get into that, but it usually works out for everybody.”