Dennis Norfleet
Norfleet at Michigan Stadium, September 2012
Michigan WolverinesNo. 26
Running back Freshman
Date of birth: (1993-02-08) February 8, 1993 (age 27)
Height: 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m) Weight: 161 lb (73 kg; 11 st 7 lb)
Career history
High school: Martin Luther King High School, Detroit, Michigan
Bowl games
*2013 Outback Bowl
Career highlights and awards

Stats at

Dennis Norfleet (born February 8, 1993) is an American football player. He is a running back and return specialist for the 2012 Michigan Wolverines football team. After his first ten games, he ranked second all-time at the University of Michigan in both kickoffs returned in a season (31) and kickoff return yards in a season (735).

Early yearsEdit

Norfleet played high school football at Detroit's Martin Luther King High School. As a senior in 2011, he rushed for 2,033 yards and 27 touchdowns.[1][2][3][4] As a junior, he rushed for 254 yards against regional football power Brother Rice in the 2010 season opener.[5] A versatile player, he played at running back, slot receiver, defensive back, kick returner, punter and place kicker in high school.[6] Detroit King head coach Dale Harvel said of Norfleet, "What can I say? He does everything for us. He plays wherever we need him. Call him Jim Thorpe."[6]

In August 2011, the Detroit Free Press named Norfleet as the most exciting player in Michigan high school football, calling him "lightning quick and more powerful than many think."[7] Tom Markowski of The Detroit News added, "Pound for pound, if he's not the state's best football player, he's the most exciting."[6]

Norfleet was a three-sport star at Detroit King, also playing as a guard on the basketball team and running as a sprinter on the track team.[8][9]

University of MichiganEdit

Norfleet initially committed in August 2011 to play for the University of Cincinnati Bearcats, but he switched his commitment on February 1, 2012, after receiving a late offer offer from Michigan.[10][11][12][13][14]

2012 seasonEdit

As a true freshman, Norfleet became Michigan's kickoff return specialist.[15] In his first game for Michigan, Norfleet led the Wolverines with 177 all-purpose yards, including a 33-yard kickoff return, against Alabama.[16][17] After the loss to Alabama, Michael Rothstein of wrote: "About the only positive for Michigan in the first half was the play of freshman kick returner Dennis Norfleet, who showed good instincts and speed."[18]

On November 10, 2012, Norfleet passed Steve Breaston to move into second place in Michigan's record book in both number of kickoff returns in a season and kickoff return yards in a season.[19] He trails only Darryl Stonum in Michigan's record book; Stonum returned 39 kickoffs for 1,001 yards for the 2009 team.[20][21] Through the first 11 games of the 2012 season, Norfleet had returned 33 kickoffs for 768 yards, an average of 23.5 yards per return.[22]

Norfleet also returned two punts for 53 yards, including a 42-yard return against Illinois, for an average of 26.5 yards per return.[22] His 43-yard punt return against Illinois nearly resulted in a touchdown, but Norfleet ran into the punter and fell before scoring.[23] He has seen little action as a running back as a freshman. In his first carry as a running back, Norfleet ran for 14 yards against UMass on September 15, 2012.[22][24]


  1. "Dennis Norfleet Profile". University of Michigan.
  2. Mick McCabe (November 5, 2011). "With Dennis Norfleet afoot, Detroit King rolls on". Detroit Free Press.
  3. Julian H. Gonzalez (September 13, 2011). "Meet Detroit King's Dennis Norfleet". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved November 10, 2012.
  4. Rick Schulte (November 12, 2011). "Football roundup: Detroit King, Dennis Norfleet roll over Wyandotte". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved November 10, 2012.
  5. Francis Ralko (August 28, 2010). "Dennis Norfleet runs wild in Detroit King's 32-19 opening-week football win over Brother Rice".
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Tom Markowski (August 24, 2011). "Norfleet does it all for King". The Detroit News.
  7. "Dennis Norfleet, Brian Blackburn among must-see players in Michigan". Detroit Free Press. August 19, 2011.
  8. John Markowski (January 31, 2012). "Blue Chip profiles: Dennis Norfleet enjoys being three-sport athlete". The Detroit News.
  9. Tom Barry (September 2, 2011). "Dennis Norfleet runs for 186 yards as Detroit King beats Detroit Crockett, 26-14".
  10. "Detroit King's Dennis Norfleet switches commitment to Michigan". Detroit Free Press. February 1, 2012.
  11. Justin Rogers (February 1, 2012). "Michigan recruit Dennis Norfleet told he'll start as returner and slot receiver".
  12. Michael Rothstein (February 9, 2012). "How Michigan will use Dennis Norfleet".
  13. Kyle Meinke (February 1, 2012). "Michigan football team picks up surprise commit from 4-star Detroit tailback Dennis Norfleet".
  14. Andrea Adelson (February 1, 2012). "RB Norfleet switches from UC to Michigan".
  15. Kyle Meinke (August 23, 2012). "True freshman speedster Dennis Norfleet a leading candidate at kick return for Michigan football".
  16. "Michigan Football Statistics (1-game Totals)". University of Michigan. September 2, 2012. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
  17. Angelique S. Chengelis (September 10, 2012). "It's been (mostly) happy returns for Michigan's Dennis Norfleet". The Detroit News.
  18. Michael Rothstein (September 1, 2012). "Halftime Instant Analysis: Bama 31, U-M 7".
  19. Angelique S. Chengelis (November 10, 2012). "Michigan's Fitz Toussaint shows signs of getting untracked". The Detroit News.
  20. "Darryl Stonum". University of Michigan.
  21. "Michigan Football Statistic Archive Query Page". University of Michigan. Retrieved October 17, 2011.(Enter "Stonum" in the field for "Enter last name" and then click "Display Career" to view career statistics)
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 "Michigan Football Statistic Archive Query Page". University of Michigan. Retrieved November 17, 2012.(Enter "Norfleet" in the field for "Enter last name" and then click "Display Career" to view career statistics)
  23. Luke Pasch (October 18, 2012). "Breakdown: Michigan, Michigan State set for defensive battle".,1.
  24. "Michigan Football Statistics (10-game Totals)". University of Michigan. November 10, 2012.
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