Dukes Open Fall Camp In Search Of Starting QB

By: Daren Stoltzfus Email
By: Daren Stoltzfus Email

The first day of Fall camp at James Madison ended the same way Spring practice did--without a starting quarterback.

Right now, it's a three man race. Junior Justin Thorpe, who is coming off a severe knee injury seems to be the slight favorite, with Kansas State transfer sophomore Billy Cosh and sophomore Jace Edwards in close pursuit.

"We have three quarterbacks, we're going to let them play," said head coach Mickey Matthews. "We're going to let them all compete in live situations and let the best one come forth."

There's no definite time table for when a quarterback will be named, but Matthews says he'd like it to be soon.

"If we can make a decision 10 days from now that would be good," said Matthews. "I want one guy to jump ahead of the others, and him be the guy."

Thorpe could be the guy, if he can stay healthy. As a freshman, Thorpe split time with Drew Dudzik at the quarterback position, but last season, Thorpe played in only two quarters before hyper-extending his knee. But now, he's back on the field, and happy to be competing.

"Football is competition if it's not competition then you don't have enough good players," said Thorpe. "I'm just excited to come out here and compete with these guys."

Nearly a year later, and without surgery, Thorpe is all the way back and he says his knee feels fine.

"I feel pretty good, my knee is feeling 100 percent, I just can't wait to get going," said Thorpe.

His coach says even though surgery wasn't required, it was still a serious injury.

"It was about as significant an injury a youngster could have without requiring surgery. We've led the NCAA in most MRIs because it's been sore," said Mickey.

Thorpe missed most of the off-season rehabbing and practiced in less than half of Spring camp.

The Dukes kick off the 2011 season Saturday, September 3 at North Carolina. Game time is set for 3:30 p.m.

Practice was originally scheduled to take place at the newly renovated Bridgeforth Stadium, but due to non-serious and on-going construction complications, was moved to the grass fields.

Former R.E. Lee standout Terrell Mickens will miss the entire 2011 season and plans to redshirt after having knee surgery in the off-season. Mickens played wide receiver and defensive back for the Leeman plans to play defensive back for the Dukes next season.

Mickens' cousin and fellow former Leeman A.J. Scott attended the first day of practice but did not participate. Scott is still tying up loose ends after transferring from Marshall.

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