Michigan Football: Darryl Stonum's Dismissal Alters Recruiting Strategy

Joel GreerCorrespondent IJanuary 17, 2012

Darryl Stonum (22)
Darryl Stonum (22)Domenic Centofanti/Getty Images

Without a few last-minute surprises, Michigan was finished recruiting wide receivers for the 2012 class.

But Tuesday's dismissal of wide receiver Darryl Stonum, and the possible reopening of Jordan Payton's recruitment to Cal, placed Michigan on a trail for another wide receiver.

Payton had verbally committed to Cal Jan. 7, but his recruiter and California assistant coach Tosh Lupoi left the Golden Bears for Washington a few days later. "Just seeing him at my house on Saturday night for an in-home visit and I didn't even expect it," Payton told scout.com. He's been recruiting me for about three years now. It's just crazy."

Before committing to Cal, Payton had been close to Michigan throughout the recruiting process.

The 6'2" 205-pound receiver made it to the Big House last September and will host the Wolverines at an in-home visit this week.

Meanwhile, Stonum's career ended at Michigan Tuesday after several bouts with the law.

Last May, he was arrested for his second drunk driving offense, and was redshirted during the 2011 season in hopes he could return in 2012 with his problems behind him.

But the good intentions came crashing down when Stonum was stopped for driving with a revoked license not long after Michigan's Sugar Bowl victory. 

"I love Darryl and wish him nothing but the absolute best," head coach Brady Hoke said in a prepared statement. "However, there is a responsibility and a higher standard you must be accountable to as a University of Michigan football student-athlete.  That does not and will not change.  It's unfortunate because I believe he has grown a great deal as a person since the beginning of the season.  My hope is that the maturing process continues."

Stonum had a breakout season in 2010, catching 49 passes, while returning 22 kickoffs for 513 yards. He was expected to play a huge roll this fall, especially with the departure of seniors Junior Hemingway, Kelvin Grady and Martavious Odoms.

Other than Payton, only one other blue-chip wide receiver could possibly wear a Michigan uniform this fall. Although he's leaning toward Auburn, Stefon Diggs could conceivably renew his interest toward the Wolverines because of Stonum's departure. Diggs was the high school teammate of Michigan cornerback Blake Countess.