Thorpe will not return to JMU

HARRISONBURG, VA (WWBT) - James Madison quarterback Justin Thorpe will not return to the school for his final year of football eligibility, athletic department sources told NBC12 Friday.  Thorpe will presumably transfer, but that has yet to be confirmed, nor has a reason for his departure.

Thorpe played in ten games in 2012, starting nine of them and throwing for 1,529 yards, eleven touchdowns and nine interceptions.  He also rushed for 681 yards and an addition ten scores.

The Varina graduate has seen ups and downs in Harrisonburg.  Last season, he was suspended for violating team rules and this year he was benched by head coach Mickey Matthews during the Dukes' loss to Richmond.

His departure opens the door for Matoaca product Michael Birdsong to enter 2013 as the starting quarterback.  Birdsong took over for Thorpe during his benching and started two games for the Dukes.

This was all part of a busy Friday for Matthews, who dismissed offensive coordinator Jeff Durdan and running backs/offensive line coach Chris Malone.

Despite a ranking as high as number two in the country during the season, the Dukes experienced a second half slump, finished 7-4 and missed the playoffs.

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