TAMPA — Michigan coach Brady Hoke said Thursday that Matt Wile will be the team’s primary punter in the Outback Bowl, following the suspension of All-Big Ten punter Will Hagerup because of a violation of team rules.
Hagerup, cornerback J.T. Floyd, and linebacker Brandin Hawthorne did not travel to Tampa with the team for the Outback Bowl.
Wile will handle both kickoff and punt duties when the Wolverines face South Carolina on Tuesday at Raymond James Stadium. Wile had nine punts for an average of 31.9 yards and had 70 kickoffs for an average of 60.3 yards this season. Wile also kicked a 48-yard field goal in a 12-10 win Oct. 20 against Michigan State.
“It’s one thing we’ve got to be careful of and conscious about, not over-kicking him and not over-punting him,” Hoke said of Wile. “This time of year, you worry about getting too many kicks for those guys.”
After Hagerup’s third suspension in three years, Hoke did not discuss Hagerup’s status with the team or his future with the program.
“We’ll do something,” Hoke said, when asked if he planned to meet with Hagerup after the Outback Bowl. “It won’t be here.”
VISITORS: While Michigan’s practice at Tampa’s Jesuit High School was closed to the media after the first 20 minutes, one of Thursday’s spectators was Leon McQuay III, a safety at Armwood High School in Seffner, Fla., and one of the nation’s most sought-after recruits.
Rivals.com ranks McQuay as the No. 2 safety in the country among recruits, behind Southern California commit Su’a Cravens of Murietta, Calif., and lists McQuay as the No. 19 player in the country in its top 100.
McQuay had 54 tackles, five interceptions, a forced fumble, and one blocked field goal this season. He is expected to announce his college decision in January.
GIFTED PLAYERS: Sports Business Journal reported earlier this month that players from Michigan and South Carolina received an array of gifts from the Outback Bowl, including a $150 Best Buy gift card, a Fossil watch, a ring, a cap, and a gift card to Outback Steakhouse.
Michigan linebacker Desmond Morgan said the Wolverines also received sweatsuits as bowl gifts.
The NCAA allows each bowl to give up to $550 in gifts and goods to each player in a bowl game. Among the more notable gifts that have been given at this year’s bowl games: An iPad Mini (Valero Alamo Bowl) and a 32-inch flat-screen television (Meineke Car Care Bowl).
OUTBACK TEAM EVENTS: Several players from the Wolverines and the Gamecocks visited St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital of Tampa as part of a series of scheduled bowl events.
However, one of Thursday’s events was taken off the docket. Michigan and South Carolina were scheduled to attend a Tampa Bay Lightning game at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, but the NHL has yet to play a game this season because of an ongoing labor dispute.