HARRISONBURG — Two sources said Monday that quarterback Michael Birdsong has asked for his release from James Madison. The rising junior is expected to transfer.
Birdsong was a first-year starter last season, setting several JMU passing records, including yards in a game, yards in a season, touchdowns in a game and touchdowns in a season. But the suburban Richmond native also set the Madison record for interceptions in a season while leading the Dukes to a 6-6 record. JMU missed the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons.
It is not a surprise that Birdsong — who did not immediately reply to a text message and a voicemail — would look to leave JMU.
New coach Everett Withers added quarterback Vad Lee in the winter. Lee, a former three-star recruit, started for Georgia Tech in 2013 before transferring to Madison. Withers opened the starting QB job for competition, saying he wouldn’t name a starter until after preseason practice. Still, Birdsong’s future at JMU looked murky.
Birdsong did not redshirt, meaning he can transfer to another Division I-AA school without losing a season of eligibility. A player transferring laterally — like between I-AA schools — has to sit out a season before playing. If Birdsong were to transfer to a D-II or D-III school, he could play immediately.