Michigan's Fitz Toussaint, Frank Clark suspended for Alabama game
Michigan tailback Fitz Toussaint and defensive end Frank Clark won't play in the Wolverines' season opener after offseason arrests, coach Brady Hoke announced Friday.
Hoke said the players were suspended for one game and will not make the trip to Arlington, Texas. Michigan faces No. 2 Alabama at 8 p.m. Saturday on ABC.
"The decision was not easy, but I feel it is in the best interest of this program and for these kids, and those always will be my priorities," Hoke said in a statement. "We have choices every day, and you have to be accountable to this program, your teammates, your family and the University of Michigan.
"These are our sons. These are real lives, and I think too often many people forget that. It's not always just about football, or a football decision. It's about teaching life lessons, and if this helps these kids or someone else make a right decision later, then we've won. That is ultimately what we are here for, to help them grow and mature to become better sons, fathers, husbands and members of society.
"They are good young men who made poor choices, and we will continue to support them as members of our team and family."
Toussaint's loss is most notable for eighth-ranked Michigan. He ascended to the Wolverines' featured tailback spot last year and finished with 1,041 yards rushing in his first year as a starter.
But the junior was arrested July 21 for drunken driving, and pleaded guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor charge of operating a vehicle while visibly impaired. He missed the first seven days of practice, but has worked out with the team the past three weeks.
Sophomore tailback Thomas Rawls is expected to be Toussaint's primary replacement. Senior Vincent Smith and redshirt freshman Justice Hayes, or even fullback Stephen Hopkins, could also receive carries.
Clark, meantime, was suspended after an offseason arrest for allegedly stealing a laptop from a campus dorm. He faces a second-degree home invasion charge, and his case is still pending. He's back in court Sept. 11.
The sophomore was expected to battle for the starting weak-side defensive end spot in fall camp, but was rarely mentioned by coaches. He is listed as the backup to junior Jibreel Black.
Sophomore Brennen Beyer, who played linebacker last year, is expected to back up Black with Clark out.