- File Photo/Daily
By Matt Slovin, Daily Sports Editor
Published August 31, 2012
Redshirt junior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint and sophomore defensive end Frank Clark are suspended for the Michigan football team’s season opener Saturday against Alabama in the Cowboys Classic, Michigan football coach Brady Hoke announced Friday.
Neither player traveled with the team to Arlington, Texas.
"The decision was not easy, but I feel it is in the best interest of this program and for these kids, and those always will be my priorities," Hoke said in a statement. "We have choices every day, and you have to be accountable to this program, your teammates, your family and the University of Michigan."
Toussaint was suspended indefinitely following a July 21 arrest for drunken driving. Tuesday, Toussaint pled down to an operating while visibly impaired charge at an arraignment in Saline's 14A District Court.
He was listed Monday at the top of the Michigan depth chart, leading some to believe Toussaint would be playing at least part of the game against the Crimson Tide, but Hoke continued to play his cards close to his chest, holding off on a public announcement until Friday.
Clark, meanwhile, is suspended after a June 19 arrest in which he was charged with a second-degree home invasion felony. The sophomore allegedly stole a MacBook Air laptop from a room in the Stockwell Residence Hall on June 14.
"These are our sons," Hoke's statement continued. "These are real lives, and I think too often many people forget that. It's not always just about football, or a football decision. It's about teaching life lessons, and if this helps these kids or someone else make a right decision later, then we've won. That is ultimately what we are here for, to help them grow and mature to become better sons, fathers, husbands and members of society."
In Toussaint's absence, sophomore running back Thomas Rawls is expected to start for Michigan. The depth chart also lists senior Vincent Smith, who is expected to receive carries, as well as freshman Justice Hayes.
Junior Jibreel Black is listed as the starter at defensive end ahead of Clark, but Clark is still expected to see significant playing time this season. Appearing in 12 games last season, Clark recorded 10 tackles and had one interception.
This is a developing story. Come back to TheBlockM.com for more updates.