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Darryl Stonum considering a transfer to EMU

March 30, 2012

For those who don’t follow Michigan-Ann Arbor football, which is where Stonum’s been (sort-of), here’s a summary of the story to this point.

Stonum returned a kickoff 94 yards against Notre Dame in 2009. (Photo by Flickr user "larrysphatpage")

A native of Stafford, Texas, Stonum attended Dulles High School in Sugar Land, Texas, and was rated as a four-star recruit by Rivals. He enrolled early at Michigan-Ann Arbor in January 2008, and played as a wide receiver and kick return specialist for the Wolverines from 2008 to 2010. In those three years he played in 36 games, starting at wide receiver 25 times. In 2009 he set a single-season record with 39 kickoff returns for 1,001 yards. As a junior in 2010 he was the #2 receiver (behind Roy Roundtree) for the Wolverines, finishing with 49 catches for 633 yards and four touchdowns.

That’s the good, but there’s a bad side too, which is why the former #2 receiver for the Wolverines is looking east to EMU.

The best I can figure it out, here’s the timeline. In September 2008, as a freshman, he was arrested after being stopped by state police at 3:30 a.m. in downtown Ann Arbor, when his car accelerated to a speed of approximately 60 miles per hour through the campus area of State Street, and nearly struck another vehicle crossing an intersection, and after being stopped, he blew a .10 on a breathalyzer. (Keep in mind first that .08 is legally intoxicated — the magic number dropped from .10 in 2003 — and that he was 18 at the time.) He was suspended for one game for what RichRod called a “violation of team rules”. In February 2009 he pleaded guilty to a charge of operating a motor vehicle while visibly impaired. In June 2010 he served three days in Washtenaw County Jail for violating his probation, apparently by failure to submit to the required amount of random alcohol tests and for leaving the state without consent.

In May 2011, Stonum was again arrested for drunk driving, and the next month he pleaded guilty, received a one-year suspended jail sentence, and entered the Washtenaw County Court’s sobriety court program. In August 2011, Brady Hoke announced that Stonum would be “suspended” for the 2011 season (aka redshirting). This January, Stonum was stopped by police after driving away from the probation office, where he had checked in, and ticketed for driving on a revoked license; he was also found to have lied to his probation officer about how he arrived for the meeting. On top of that, Stonum was found to have not paid any of his $1,950 in previous court costs and not to have attended any 12-step meetings in the previous two weeks. He was sentenced to 10 days in jail, though he was released early, and Hoke kicked him off the football team. This morning he was in court again, where his probation, which had been scheduled to run through June 2013, was extended by 30 days because he missed a required drug test; Stonum appeared with a splint on his right arm, which he claimed to have fractured while moving out of his apartment.

Despite all that, it appears that Stonum has at least performed passably in the classroom, because he’ll be graduating this spring. He has a year of NCAA eligibility left, and since he’s graduating, he can transfer and play immediately if he enrolls in a graduate program that Michigan doesn’t offer (best known as the Russell Wilson rule, “the best rule in college sports“). Today, Stonum told AnnArbor.com that he’s got a short list of five schools, and EMU is on that list. “Nothing’s finalized yet, but I definitely like Eastern Michigan and I know Coach English pretty well. I have a lot of respect for him and the way he runs his program.” (No word about what the other four schools are.)

Stonum to EMU should be a good on-field fit. Based on what I saw at the team’s practice yesterday, I have the sense that English wants the passing game to take a big step forward this fall, and it’s going to require a real playmaker at wide receiver. There are a couple incoming freshmen who might fit that bill, but Stonum has proven that he can play at a very high level — first-team All-MAC if the ball is thrown his way often enough — and he has three seasons of experience.

The downside, of course, is all that other stuff, the stuff that makes up three-quarters of this post. At best, there’s a risk that, coupled with Ray Lee’s commitment for men’s basketball, EMU could get a reputation as a school that’s willing to overlook a little law-breaking (or alleged law-breaking in Lee’s case) for a star athlete.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Ken permalink
    March 30, 2012 11:45 pm

    That’s a heck of a downside though.

  2. Oldnormal permalink
    March 31, 2012 12:41 pm

    I’d give him one chance.

  3. Mark H. permalink
    March 31, 2012 12:53 pm

    The downside is indeed huge. EMU needs to escape, not confirm, its reputation for lawlessness among a portion of our student population, and high profile recruiting of athletes who’ve clearly had problems with the law will not help the University. EMU need not suffer the drag downward that such recruits would unavoidably create on recruitment of students.

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