Michigan Wolverines: Jerald Robinson

Norfleet makes move to cornerback

December, 14, 2012
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Dennis Norfleet always has been Michigan’s shiftiest, fastest freshman on the field. This movement, though, had little to do with his speed.

[+] EnlargeDennis Norfleet
Ray Carlin/Icon SMIRunning back and return specialist Dennis Norfleet has switched to cornerback.
Norfleet has made the move from offense to defense, settling in the last two weeks at cornerback instead of running back, where he saw limited action. It is a move the coaches have contemplated for a while, but they didn’t make the switch until after the regular season concluded.

“We talked about it for a while,” coach Brady Hoke said. “Just to get another good athlete on the field.”

It is an athleticism Norfleet showed a multitude of times this season returning kickoffs, which is a role he will still play. It is there where the 5-foot-7 freshman made the most impact, gaining 795 yards and coming within one cut of breaking long returns a handful of times this season. He also showed promise returning punts, averaging 26.5 yards in his two punt returns.

As for his switch, Hoke said the move wasn’t made due to depth at either spot, although Michigan now has two healthy, scholarship running backs in sophomore Thomas Rawls and redshirt freshman Justice Hayes. The Wolverines have a little more depth at cornerback with senior J.T. Floyd, junior Courtney Avery, sophomores Raymon Taylor and Delonte Hollowell and freshman Terry Richardson.

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Season analysis: WRs/TEs 

November, 29, 2012
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan will continue its streak of not having a 1,000-yard receiver this season, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the Wolverines have struggled at the position.

While Mario Manningham was Michigan’s last 1,000-yard receiver in 2007 (1,174 yards), Michigan has seen inconsistent, but increased, production from receivers this season over last year.

Considering Michigan’s transition from a spread to a pro-style offense, that could be deemed as progress at a position where there were major questions entering the season.

WolverineNation roundtable 

November, 8, 2012
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Questions at quarterback, issues along the offensive line, and what, exactly, will Michigan do at receiver next season if Devin Gardner moves back to quarterback as anticipated?

[+] EnlargeJerald Robinson
Jay Talbott/Icon SMIWhen the shuffle starts for 2013, Jerald Robinson could be a key for U-M at receiver.
These questions are tackled here this week, in WolverineNation's weekly roundtable.

1. Michigan has had some major issues with its offensive line this season. What would be your strategy to fix it?

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan redshirt sophomore wide receiver Jerald Robinson was sentenced Tuesday to six months probation and 24 hours of volunteer work at a non-profit agency stemming from his guilty plea to misdemeanor malicious destruction of property.

Robinson also was sentenced to pay $440 in fines and court costs and $150 in probation oversight. He must stay away from drugs and alcohol for the duration of his probation and submit to random drug testing.

He must complete the community service by Jan. 30, 2013.

He was sentenced under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, which means if Robinson completes all aspects of his probation, he will not have a conviction on his record.

Robinson also is required to pay restitution, but his attorney, Douglas Lewis, is contesting the amount Robinson owes. Judge Elizabeth Pollard Hines has set up a restitution hearing -- damages for both a broken parking gate and money lost due to other cars leaving without payment -- for 2 p.m. on Oct. 29. Republic Parking says the damages would equate to $25 for the broken gate and approximately $389 in lost fees.

The Canton, Ohio, native has caught two passes for 19 yards this season, but was more involved in the Michigan offense against UMass on Saturday, being targeted three times.

Key to 2012: No. 3 Roy Roundtree 

August, 29, 2012
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Roy RoundtreeRick Osentoski/US PresswireWide receiver Roy Roundtree is banking on a bounce-back season as a senior.
Over the next two weeks, WolverineNation will break down the 10 players who need to play to the peak of their abilities for Michigan to have its best possible season, going from 10 all the way to No. 1.

Senior wide receiver Roy Roundtree has had an up-and-down career at Michigan. During his sophomore season he caught 72 passes. With expectations sky-high for his junior season, he caught 19. For most it would've been considered disappointing, but Roundtree said it never got to him. He was still an Allstate Sugar Bowl champion. Now, as a senior, coming off what was the worst drop between seasons for passes caught in school history, he has been given the No. 21 Desmond Howard legacy uniform. Coaches are expecting a lot out of the senior, while everyone else is interested to see what happens.

Roundtree has the most experience with senior quarterback Denard Robinson and by moving to flanker -- the most prominent receiver position in Al Borges' offense -- the lights will be on Roundtree. If he performs to the peak of his abilities and his arthroscopic knee surgery is nothing but an afterthought, the Wolverines will be poised to have a pretty potent air attack. He's a big target and defenses know he can catch passes, so coverage will be tight. If he doesn't play up to his abilities, the Wolverines will be forced to move to receiver/quarterback/athlete Devin Gardner, who has caught just one pass in his career. Past that, Michigan would have to turn to Jerald Robinson (no receptions), Jeremy Jackson (seven catches) or true freshman Amara Darboh.

For Robinson to be able to take advantage of other teams with his feet, he'll have to throw the ball well. And throwing the ball well means someone on the other end must catch it. More likely than not, that target will be Roundtree. But now, the waiting begins to see if he can hold down the position or not.

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After nearly four and a half years of work by Elliott Mealer's and a few months of speculation by the media, it seems as though Mealer has pulled ahead in the left guard battle.

"I think Elliott Mealer has really done a nice job and I think right now, if we were playing tomorrow, he'd be the guy," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. "His work ethic, his leadership, I think the maturation process. I'm really excited for Elliott."

Coaches have noticed Mealer playing faster and using better technique, which has helped him separate himself. But a main factor has been Mealer's confidence, according to Hoke.

Redshirt sophomore Joey Burzynski and freshman Kyle Kalis continue to compete with Mealer. Hoke mentioned that offensive line coach Darrell Funk has been moving around players to find which players can play the best at each position and which group plays the best together.

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Everything, Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges explained, was linked. To understand why junior Devin Gardner could spend some time at receiver, he had to see redshirt freshman Russell Bellomy develop enough as a quarterback just in case.

The just-in-case turned into a viable option for Michigan, so it allowed Borges to use some of his creativity to free up one of the better athletes on his team to go play a new position.

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Brady HokeAndrew Weber/US PresswireBrady Hoke is sending a message by keeping Fitz Toussaint and Frank Clark out of practice.
Brady Hoke took a stand during the first practice of this Michigan football season Monday, but it had nothing to do with who was on the field for the Wolverines.

It had everything to do with who was off it.

By sitting Fitzgerald Toussaint and Frank Clark on Monday and not giving a definitive timetable for their return, Hoke is sending a message to everyone else on his roster. Doesn’t matter who you are, if you find yourself with serious legal issues, you aren’t going to practice or play.

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan wide receiver Jerald Robinson pleaded guilty Monday morning to a misdemeanor malicious destruction of property charge in the 15th District Court in Ann Arbor.

Robinson, 20, agreed to plead guilty under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, which is a guilty plea without a conviction so he would not have a criminal record.

Robinson, who according to the police report was driving a gray Dodge Charger, broke a parking gate at 351 S. Fifth Avenue, which is a parking lot owned by Republic Parking, on Feb. 4.

“I lifted the parking gate,” Robinson told the court. “Lifted it to the point where it was broke.”

The maximum penalty for the charge is one year in jail and $2,000 fine or three times the amount of destruction, which his attorney, Douglas Lewis, estimated at about $414. Lewis said in court, though, that restitution in the matter was still open.

The case report obtained through an open records request said Michael Bandy, the operations assistant manager for Republic Parking, deemed the damages at $414.40, including $389.40 in “unrecoverable revenue” and $25 for “gate repair.”

Robinson, a redshirt sophomore who is expected to contend for a starting wide receiver position in the fall, is next due in court for sentencing on Sept. 18 at 9 a.m.

Michigan begins practicing for the 2012 football season today.
The Inside The Game Ohio State-Michigan positional previews with BuckeyeNation’s Austin Ward and WolverineNation’s Michael Rothstein continue today with a look at perhaps the biggest question marks on the offense for both schools.

The wide receivers and tight ends.

Ohio State
Ward: Urban Meyer didn’t sugarcoat his assessments in the spring, and those words have surely been ringing in the ears of the targets in the passing game all summer.

Maybe the new Ohio State coach was simply trying to send a message to the receivers about how important they are in the spread offense. Perhaps Meyer is truly concerned about the talent he’s inherited at those skill positions -- or maybe it’s a combination of the two.

Regardless, after posting some of the worst receiving numbers in the country last season, the Buckeyes are counting on more from the passing game and the group already on campus is going to be responsible for the improvement.

Devin Smith and Evan Spencer both have the ability to produce on the perimeter, and Corey “Philly” Brown has emerged as a viable candidate in the hybrid pivot position thanks to his speed and elusiveness. All of them earned a starting spot coming out of spring practice, but the player that perhaps excited the most for the Buckeyes during camp was Michael Thomas. The true freshman pulled down 12 catches in the spring game -- only two fewer than the highest total anybody posted for the entire 2011 season.

But the guy who might really help the offense and quarterback Braxton Miller take off is tight end Jake Stoneburner, an invaluable security blanket with a knack for turning his catches into points. Of the senior’s 14 catches last season, half of them went for touchdowns.

Michigan
Rothstein: The biggest question for Michigan this season, offensively or defensively, is who is going to catch the ball consistently for the Wolverines. The coaches have preached having confidence in fifth-year senior Roy Roundtree and junior Jeremy Gallon, but neither has the size the graduated Junior Hemingway did.

Both have had productive seasons in the past -- Roundtree caught 72 passes for 935 yards as a sophomore in 2011 and Gallon had 31 catches for 453 yards last season -- but neither has shown great consistency.

Otherwise, Michigan is staring at a bunch of unknowns. Receivers Drew Dileo, Jerald Robinson and Jeremy Jackson have shown promise, but hardly ever in game situations. Incoming freshmen Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson both have the size and speed potential offensive coordinator Al Borges desires, but no experience.

Tight end, where Kevin Koger was a reliable option the past three seasons, is an even bigger question. The tight ends on the roster combine for two career catches, 28 yards and even less experience.

Fifth-year senior Brandon Moore -- once a highly-touted recruit -- is the likely starter here but otherwise the Wolverines are looking at two freshmen, Devin Funchess and A.J. Williams, and a fifth-year senior walk-on, Mike Kwiatkowski, to fill the role.

As good as Michigan’s run game may be, its receivers and tight ends could stall the offense unless they are able to identify consistent producers.
Michigan's challenge against defending national champion Alabama may have just gotten even more difficult.

[+] EnlargeFitzgerald Toussaint
Rick Osentoski/US PresswireRB Fitzgerald Toussaint has been suspended indefinitely.
Star running back Fitz Toussaint has been suspended indefinitely following a weekend arrest for drunk driving. According to reports, the junior was stopped for a traffic violation in downtown Ann Arbor just a little before midnight Saturday and failed a breathalyzer test. Head coach Brady Hoke announced Monday afternoon that Toussaint is suspended indefinitely.

By definition, we don't know how long that indefinite suspension will last. It is reasonable, however, to conclude that Toussaint may not be available for the opener against the Crimson Tide at Cowboys Stadium. And if so, that's a tough blow.

Toussaint ran for 1,041 yards last season, doing much of his best work late in the season. He spoke confidently this spring about surpassing 1,600 rushing yards this season. His emergence in the middle of last year lightened the offensive load on star quarterback Denard Robinson and made the Wolverines' offense that much more versatile and dangerous. Michigan will need all the weapons it has to try and move the ball effectively against what is expected to be another fierce Alabama defense.

If Toussaint is out for the opener, or even longer, the Wolverines would most likely turn to sophomore Thomas Rawls as their main tailback. A physical, 219-pounder, Rawls earned praise from Hoke for his play this spring and was described by offensive coordinator Al Borges as "a battering ram." He doesn't have the explosiveness of Toussaint, but a guy who can run through tackles might not be bad to have against 'Bama, anyway.

Other options at tailback include veterans Vincent Smith and Stephen Hopkins and sophomore Justice Hayes. Still, there's a big dropoff from Toussaint to anyone else in terms of experience and production.

Again, we don't know for sure how long this suspension will last. Hoke dismissed receiver Darryl Stonum this winter after traffic violations landed Stonum in jail, but the troubled player had previous run-ins with the law. This is, as far as we know, Toussaint's first misstep.

It hasn't been a great offseason for Michigan players. Starting defensive tackle Will Campbell pleaded guilty earlier Monday to a civil infraction for blocking a sidewalk; he'll be sentenced later this week for a misdemeanor destruction of property charge. He had originally been charged with felony destruction of property and possession of alcohol by a minor. Receiver Jerald Robinson had a warrant out for his arrest for allegedly damaging a parking gate; his case is scheduled to be heard later this summer.

But Toussaint is the biggest name of the bunch and his suspension could be costly. Without him, the Michigan offense could be back to a familiar place in the 2012 opener: relying on Denard Robinson to make some magic.

WolverineNation Mailbag 

June, 27, 2012
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Jehu Chesson, Amara DarbohCourtesy of Jody Carr, Steven McIntoshCan incoming freshmen Jehu Chesson and Amara Darboh help the receiving corps in 2012?
We're just over a month away from the start of fall football camp and just over two months away from kickoff against Alabama. But the freshman football players have arrived on campus so the season is one step closer.

I'm sure the football questions are just stirring because of it, and lucky for you, I answer three this week. We love hearing from our readers so keep sending in questions to jenningsespn@gmail.com or tweet me at @ChantelJennings.

But for now, let's get to this week’s questions.

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Michigan wide receiver Jerald Robinson's pretrail hearing has been adjourned to 9 a.m. on July 16 at the request of Robinson’s attorney. This is third adjournment in the case, with the first on May 14 and the second on June 4.

According to court records, Robinson attempted to “wilfully (sic) and maliciously destroy or injure a parking entrance/exit gate arm the personal property of Republic Parking” on Feb. 4, 2012.

Robinson’s attorney stated in court that the defense is looking for “additional discovery” as it searches for video footage surrounding the incident.

If found guilty, Robinson could face up to a year in prison and a fine of $2,000.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan wide receiver Jerald Robinson received another continuance in his malicious destruction of property misdemeanor case Monday morning.

Judge Elizabeth Pollard Hines of the 15th District Court granted the request, filed as attorneys try to find a videotape of the alleged incident. Robinson is charged with breaking a parking gate at 351 S. Fifth Ave.

Robinson is due back in court on June 25 at 9 a.m.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan wide receiver Jerald Robinson appeared in court Monday morning for his pretrial hearing, which his lawyer requested to have adjourned to June 4 at 9 a.m. Judge Elizabeth Pollard Hines granted the request.

Robinson was charged in February for a misdemeanor charge of malicious destruction of property. After failing to appear his March 23 arraignment hearing he had a bench warrant issued for his arrest. That warrant was dismissed on April 20 after Robinson appeared for his arraignment.

Robinson declined further comment following the proceedings.

If convicted, Robinson could face up to a year in prison and a fine of $2,000.

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