With its 2017 season opener against Florida just 12 days away, the Michigan football team received the unexpected news that Keith Washington has decided to transfer.

First reported by Sam Webb of The Michigan Insider on Monday, the redshirt junior cornerback informed the coaching staff of his intention to leave the program in the midst of fall camp.

Washington joined the Wolverines in 2015 as a three-star recruit out of Prattville High School in Alabama, but he hadn’t made his name on the defensive side of the ball. The dual-threat quarterback was classified as an athlete during the recruiting process and converted to cornerback at the encouragement of the Michigan coaching staff.

Though he did not see game action as a freshman, he played on special teams in nine games while seeing some time at cornerback during his sophomore season. With the graduations of former cornerbacks Jourdan Lewis and Channing Stribling, Washington was expected to compete for a starting role this year.

During spring camp just four months ago, cornerbacks coach Mike Zordich seemed impressed by how much Washington had grown comfortable in his new position.

“We brought him over and said, ‘Hey, we’re going to make you a cornerback in a system that plays press-man (coverage) 90 percent of the time,’ so it’s not an easy thing to do. And it’s a tough technique to learn, and that’s what he’s trying to do.

“I think he’s doing it very well. I thought he had a heck of a (spring game). Played really well, was very aggressive, had some nice tackles. He’s come along really well.”

Though the reason for his premature departure has yet to be revealed, Washington’s exit is the last thing the Wolverines need as they search for a viable secondary with the season opener approaching.

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