Michael Birdsong wanted more transfer options so badly that he formally appealed a decision by James Madison football coach Everett Withers to block him from attending four non-conference schools.
Turns out, Birdsong didn’t need to bother.
The former Dukes’ quarterback said in a text message Sunday that he will transfer to Division I-A Marshall after spending two seasons at I-AA JMU.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Birdsong, who has two years of eligibility remaining, could not be reached for further comment.
Birdsong took an official visit to Marshall in Huntington, W.Va., this past weekend. The Thundering Herd, he said, had already offered him a scholarship. J.C. Price, the Herd’s defensive tackles coach, is a former JMU assistant and helped recruit Birdsong to Madison when the quarterback was at Mataoca High School in suburban Richmond.
Marshall went 10-4 overall and 7-1 in Conference USA last season, beating Maryland 31-20 in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27. Rakeem Cato, the Herd’s starting quarterback in 2013, will be a senior in 2014, meaning the quarterback job presumably will be open in 2015, which is the first year Birdsong will be eligible to play.
Last week, Birdsong said he would take his time picking a new school, specifically mentioning Old Dominion and its pass-loving offense. ODU was one of four non-Colonial Athletic Association schools, along with Appalachian State, Charlotte and Liberty, that Withers had vetoed as transfer destinations for Birdsong. Birdsong appealed Tuesday to a panel of JMU faculty, which voided bans on three of the four schools, allowing only Withers’ block on Charlotte to stand.