Justin Thorpe Out for 6 Weeks
When Justin Thorpe injured his knee with about 30 seconds left in the first half of JMU’s win over Morehead State, it looked bad. Real bad. It was a pleasant surprise when it was reported he’d only miss one game. Unfortunately, Thorpe had a MRI which showed that the Dukes’ back-up QB has significant bone bruising and is now projected to be out 6 weeks.
It’s easy to question Coach Matthews decision to not take a knee on the play Thorpe was injured. The Dukes were up 34-0 with around 30 seconds left in the half. That’s not really the point though. Thorpe had seen plenty of action already, lining up at WR and wildcat QB throughout the game, and he was probably going to play the entire second half at QB. He could have been injured on any play. The real questions focus on what Thorpe’s injury means for the Dukes this year and beyond.
Drew Dudzik is the Dukes’ #1 QB and Justin Thorpe is the #2. True freshman, Jace Edwards is the #3 QB and Matthews and the staff were intending to redshirt him. Now if Dudzik gets hurt, JMU faces the real possibility of having to pull the redshirt off Edwards. JMU also has the option of moving WR Kavon Seaton to QB to back-up Dudzik, as Seaton played QB last year. The Dukes could also rely on WR Quintin Hunter who played QB in high school. Things become a little more dicey with JMU set to play VA Tech on Saturday. For all intensive purposes the two primary goals heading into that game are to 1.) cash the $450,000 check Tech is cutting JMU and 2.) get back to the ‘Burg without any injuries. I’ve got imagine the play was to plant Drew on the bench if/when the game got out of hand. Thorpe’s injury might make that more difficult.
Players risk injury on every play, so apparently Matthews seemed to believe that Thorpe’s talent merited getting him on the field as much as possible, even if it meant risking him as the back-up QB. I actually agree with the logic. Thorpe got killed (unjustly) by some fans for his performance as a QB last year, but the complaints centered on his decision making and throwing accuracy. I didn’t like him at QB either, but I’d love him at nearly any other position, offense or defense. The guy is crazy talented and a true game-breaker with the ball in his hands. He just might not be a classic QB.
Freshman QB Jace Edwards has supposedly been wowing everyone at practice. If he’s a good as everyone says, then I trust him as Drew’s back-up. If Drew does go down, pull the redshirt and see what the young kid can do. In my ideal world JMU would have Dudzik play out the season, Thorpe return mid-season and continue to play wildcat QB and WR, and Edwards continuing to prep for next year. Then next season I’d actually love to see Edwards get the starting nod with Thorpe lining up at WR, RB, wildcat QB, etc. Just find a way to get Thorpe the ball in as many different ways as possible. Without the burden of running the offense full time, I think Thorpe would be unstoppable. He’d also be a hell of a weapon for a young QB to rely on. For now though, I’d be a lot happier if he could just suit up Saturday.