Friday, June 10, 2011

Southern Culture on the Skids

In an offseason that has been good to great for Michigan (from recruiting to the media's infatuation with Hoke to the state of Ohio State football in general), Darryl Stonum's troubles with the law have perhaps been the sole blemish. Stonum, already dealing with a second DUI and a Friday court appearance, was ticketed for driving with a suspended license on Thursday.

Man. Unless there are some really extenuating circumstances here, this is not good at all for Stonum's football career, let alone his life. Stonum was already suspended indefinitely, however the possibility of mercy is always implicitly there in big time college football. Hoke made it clear that he had not thought much of the situation (re: a "timetable" for a return) other than the whole waking up at 4 a.m. to pull heavy things the length of fiften football fields, making the 6 a.m. wake-ups handed down to Adrian Arrington seem like a pleasant way to "briskly" start the day. There was already a significant call for Hoke to demonstrate his commitment to running a respectable program by letting Stonum go, but this incident makes it essentially a done deal.

Stonum was a guy we all had high hopes for, but throughout it always seemed like we didn't get the most that we could have out of him.

I think we all expected him to be another Manningham (or at least a comparable player), kicking up rubber on double moves and leaving defensive backs in the dust, wondering what happened. That happened some, but not enough to get the dreaded feeling of untapped potential that all human beings wake up one day and think about. Career stats that read like this confirm this feeling with cold, hard numbers: 76 receptions, 1008 yards, 6 touchdowns. Maybe he would've been better in a traditional offense, and maybe he would've finally made that jump in 2011. I guess we'll never know. 

There is really no other option for Hoke but to let him go, and while it's always unfortunate to lose a guy you've rooted for and wished success upon for three years, so it goes. We'll always have the kickoff return against Notre Dame. If he overshot expectations in any facet of the game, it's special teams. The guy was good enough to break Steve Breaston's single season return yardage record. That's no small feat.

We'll always have that return in '09 against the Irish. I'll never forget how that play unfolded. He burst through the first level with ease, juked another, and made a bee-line for the corner of the end zone with no one even close to him. Brilliance in random, concentrated bursts...that's Darryl Stonum.

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