Mickey Matthews sounded like a broken record Wednesday at his annual signing day press conference.
For the second straight year, Matthews said quarterback was the top priority of his staff's recruiting efforts. And the results were two players already on campus: Andre Coble from Fork Union Military Academy and Kansas State transfer Billy Cosh.
"The opportunity to have those guys come in and participate in spring training was huge. We really felt like we needed to do that," Matthews said Wednesday. "And if we had not been able to get both of those guys, we would have signed another quarterback somewhere."
Coble and Cosh will be part of a wide-open quarterback competition this spring. Rising junior Justin Thorpe, who Matthews said is still recovering from the knee injury that ended his 2010 season in the season opener, and redshirt freshman Jace Edwards will also be in the mix.
Matthews said rising sophomore Dae'Quan Scott will also get a look at quarterback this spring, but his primary position will again be wide receiver. Scott moved to quarterback late last season, and led the Dukes to back-to-back wins to end the year.
A year ago, Edwards was one of two prep quarterbacks from Texas who Matthews pointed to as the highlights of the Dukes' recruiting class. The other, Henry Hunter, left the JMU program last fall.
Coble threw for 4,639 yards and 46 touchdowns, and ran for 2.525 yards and 34 scores during his career at Meadowbrook High School, before spending last season at Fork Union.
Cosh spent last year redshirting at Kansas State. He was rated a three-star prospect by ESPN coming out of Arundel High School in Maryland, where he set state career and season passing records.
The two quarterbacks were part of a relatively small group of newcomers to the JMU football program announced Wednesday.
The Dukes' signing class also included defensive back Terrell Mickens of R.E. Lee in Staunton. Mickens was recently named to the all-state second team defense by the Virginia High School Coaches Association.
"I'm excited, real excited. It's the next step in my life," Mickens said Wednesday. "Just do what I can do, what coach wants me to do. I'm going to have to work hard, and that's what I'm going to do."
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