Weight: 169 lbs.
High school: Detroit (MI) King
Position: Wide receiver
Jersey number: #23
Last year: I ranked Norfleet #21 and said he would be the starting kickoff and punt returner with 25- and 11-yard return averages, respectively. He returned 40 kickoffs for 938 yards (23.4 yards/return), 3 punts for -1 yard (-0.3 yards/return), caught 6 passes for 46 yards (7.7 yards/catch), and ran the ball 4 times for 53 yards (13.3 yards/carry).
I had high hopes for Norfleet coming into 2013 that he could become more disciplined about following his blocks, more disciplined about catching punts, more disciplined about running routes and catching the ball, more . . . okay, this is turning into a broken record. If Norfleet were a prospect coming out of high school, I would be calling him raw. He often seems to be moving a tad too fast for his own good, until he sees a gap of daylight that could send him to the endzone; at that point, he's either a tad too slow to beat the defenders or not quite strong enough to step through a tackle. Watching Norfleet is both an exercise in excitement and a test of how one handles frustration.
I will continue to insist that Norfleet is one of Michigan's most exciting players with the ball in his hands, right up there with Devin Gardner and Devin Funchess. Some newcomers might reach or surpass that level this season, but Norfleet can shimmy and shake, and he can accelerate like nobody else on the squad. The problem comes in getting him the ball. He had a shot at the punt return job last season, but he lost it early to Jeremy Gallon after looking shaky against Central Michigan and Notre Dame. Now the door is wide open for people like Jabrill Peppers and Jourdan Lewis. The same can perhaps be said for the kick return job, where Peppers will probably also get a shot to supplant Norfleet. Former offensive coordinator Al Borges got Norfleet the ball in a variety of ways, so it will be interesting to see whether new O.C. Doug Nussmeier also uses those quick pitches, jet sweeps, etc. As far as I know, Nussmeier has never utilized a scatback/receiver like Norfleet before, but he may never have had someone like him at his disposal. Regardless, I think Norfleet will continue to see time on returns and get an occasional touch on offense.
Prediction: Starting kickoff returner, backup punt returner, backup wide receiver