For the third time this week, a Michigan football player has left the program, and this time we're talking about true freshman tight end Chris Barnett. His announcement via Twitter that he's "no longer at the University of Michigan" comes on the heals of freshman offensive lineman Tony Posada and junior receiver Je'Ron Stokes exiting the program earlier in the week.
In all three cases, we shouldn't be surprised.
A quick story, that seems to be relevant today: In 2008 I covered Bowling Green football when coach Gregg Brandon was recruiting an offensive lineman from the state of Indiana. Ball State, and then head coach Brady Hoke wanted the kid, too. The recruit (his name is not important, and I can't remember it anyway) waffled and waffled and waffled before signing with Ball State --- but not until a week AFTER signing day. Given that, no one was suprrised by what ensued. His career at BSU lasted just one week of fall camp before he transferred to, yep, Bowling Green. Within a week or so, he left Bowling Green too. The signs were obvious --- this kid lacked the maturity to cut it in D-I football.
And it was obvious Chris Barnett wasn't going to last long at Michigan. In high school, Barnett bounced around from school to school. I won't pretend to know all of the particulars, but what appears to be bad often is. When it came time to picking a college, Barnett chose Oklahoma. And then Arkansas. And finally Michigan. Whether Oklahoma and Arkansas soured on Barnett, or whether he walked away from them, is irrelevant. What appears to be bad often is. I kind of figured Barnett wasn't going to hack it at Michigan, and that was before he arrived to camp over weight at 278 pounds. That's simply too big for a tight end who is expected to stretch the field.
As for Posada, no surprise there, either. He checked into camp at 340 pounds. Read into that what you want.
Regarding Stokes, his departure appears to be the result of a numbers game. He barely played the past two years, and that was in a system with three or four receiver sets. With the emergence of a full-time tight end and a fullback this year, Stokes simply was not going to see the field behind proven guys like Roy Roundtree and Junior Hemingway. He didn't appear to be next in line either, as Martavious Odoms (when healthy) and Jeremy Gallon seem to be the next best. Can't blame Stokes. When you put in the hours of a Division I football player, you want to play.
So I guess the moral of the story is, if something looks odd, it often is. Chris Barnett's chances of playing four or five years at Michigan have gone from slim to none.