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Tom Miller, Forum Communications, Published August 02 2012

UND quarterback, expected to compete as starter, quits

GRAND FORKS - The first week of University of North Dakota football camp has produced its first surprise.

Junior quarterback Joey Bradley, who started seven games in 2011, has left the program, the school confirmed Thursday.

“Joey thought it was in his best interest to resume his collegiate football career with another program,” UND football coach Chris Mussman said in a release. “I’m saddened that he is leaving our program, but wish him the best of luck in the future. We appreciate all the hard work he put in during his time here at North Dakota.”

It’s not yet known where Bradley has decided to continue his football career.

Bradley had been listed on the initial 2012 roster and was part of the team’s recently released prospectus.

Bradley was slotted as the No. 2 quarterback on the fall depth chart after losing his top spot during the spring to transfer Braden Hanson. A senior, Hanson transferred to UND from the University of North Carolina in January.

Bradley, an Issaquah, Wash., native, came to UND in 2011 after transferring from Diablo Valley Community College in California.

Bradley, who is 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds, won the starting spot in 2011 from senior Brent Goska in fall camp and started the first seven games of the season. Bradley, who was 4-3 as a starter, finished the year 78-for-149 with three interceptions and three touchdowns. He averaged 98.9 yards per game.

Goska started the final four games of the season, culminating in UND’s come-from-behind win over South Dakota in the season finale that produced a share of the Great West Conference title.

Bradley’s departure leaves UND shorthanded at quarterback. Three of the team’s quarterbacks in 2011 are no longer with the team: now-graduated Brent Goska, Bradley and sophomore Chris Comes.

That leaves Hanson’s backup as senior Marcus Hendrickson and no clear third-string quarterback. UND has three true freshmen quarterbacks coming into camp — Joe Mollberg, Ryan Bartels and Jake Hanson.

Hendrickson didn’t attempt a pass last season. Hendrickson, who has spent time at wide receiver, started one game at quarterback as a sophomore.

UND said Mussman won’t be available for further comment until after Friday’s first practice of fall camp, which is set to begin at 9:15 a.m. at Memorial Stadium.

In UND’s fall prospectus, Mussman was quoted as believing Bradley could challenge for the No. 1 job.

“There will be a battle that will go into fall camp,” Mussman said in the prospectus. “I thought Joey probably had the edge early in spring drills, but Braden caught up with him. Then, Joey had a great spring game, so I’m excited about the competition that will be there.”