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Tuesday, January 29, 2013
2014 OT Denzel Ward, U-M part ways

By Chantel Jennings

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Even though most of the focus recently has been on Michigan’s 2013 class and its more than a year until the 2014 signing day, Michigan’s 2014 recruiting class was the one with news on Tuesday.

Offensive tackle Denzel Ward (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy) and the Wolverines decided to part ways. It's possible the Michigan coaches had observed some red flags along the way that didn't sit right going forward.

Ward told WolverineNation why he felt the change was necessary.

“I feel communication wasn’t strong between me and the Michigan staff,” Ward said. “My mother wants me to take all my visits. I want to be able to see where I can play early and develop.”

The 6-foot-8, 295-pound tackle recently transferred from Hales Franciscan (Chicago) to the IMG Academy in Florida. There was speculation that the move was planned in order to reopen his recruitment, but Ward said that wasn’t true.

“I transferred here to learn from former Heisman winner Chris Weinke, whose knowledge is unlimited, to get a jump start on training and to get out of the violence from Chicago,” Ward said.

But the move did push him further from Michigan and move him into the recruiting territories of several other coaches. In addition, Ward took a visit to Florida in early January, which doesn't jibe with Brady Hoke's no-visit policy.

Gators coach Will Muschamp and Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio have been through to see Ward. Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges was at the school but didn’t speak with Ward and was there primarily to check in on 2014 Watch List quarterback Michael O’Connor (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy).

Ward holds offers from Florida, Ohio State, Arizona State and Purdue. He now plans not to commit until after his senior season. Ward has tweeted that Michigan's offer remains, but that might not be the case.

Michigan now has one commit in its 2014 class -- Watch List linebacker Michael Ferns (St. Clairsville, Ohio/St. Clairsville).