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Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Riley Dodge leaving North Texas

By Tim MacMahon

Quarterback Riley Dodge has played his last down at North Texas.

Dodge, the former Southlake Carroll High star, told ESPNDallas.com that he will transfer from North Texas. His departure comes months after his father, Todd, was fired in midseason after going 6-37 in three-plus years as the Mean Green’s head coach.

“It just came down to me getting a fresh start,” Dodge said. “I’m very grateful for what North Texas has done for me.”

Dodge, who has two seasons of eligibility remaining, plans to go to Football Subdivision Championship program with a passing offense. The list of schools he is considering includes Stephen F. Austin, McNeese State, Southeastern Louisiana, James Madison, Missouri State, Villanova and Delaware.

Dodge, the two-time Class 5A offensive player of the year, was one of the most heralded recruits in UNT history. He had orally committed to Texas, where he likely would have played receiver, before changing his mind and deciding to play again for his father, who had built Southlake Carroll into one of the best dynasties in Texas high school football history before being hired by UNT.

However, Dodge’s career at North Texas was marred by injuries, beginning with a broken right clavicle suffered in his final high school game. Dodge dealt with so many injuries to his throwing arm that he was moved to receiver last spring, only to return to quarterback after season-ending injuries to starter Nathan Tune and backup Derek Thompson.

Dodge threw for 1,212 yards and 11 touchdowns with four interceptions while starting seven games at quarterback last season. He also rushed for 253 yards and a touchdown on 79 carries. He suffered a concussion in the season finale and was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where he was released within an hour.

There was concern in the spring that Dodge would need Tommy John surgery on his throwing arm, but he said it’s as strong as ever.

“I want to play quarterback,” said Dodge, who threw for 3,187 yards and 20 touchdowns and rushed for 754 yards and six touchdowns during his UNT career. “I feel like I’ve got two good years left and just want to get a fresh start. My arm feels great. I’ve been throwing a lot. And I know I’m a quarterback.”

Dodge said his decision had nothing to do with new UNT coach Dan McCarney. He praised McCarney and associate head coach/ offensive coordinator Mike Canales, who served as interim coach after Todd Dodge’s dismissal.

Dodge added that he had no regrets about his decision to attend North Texas, although his experience there certainly didn’t unfold the way he had envisioned.

“I don’t regret a thing,” he said. “It’s just my time to go.”