Player leaves TCU in hopes of new start

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    A Battle TCU lost.The top recruit for 2003, quarterback James Battle, is now a Lumberjack. Battle will continue his collegiate football career at Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches.

    “TCU just wasn’t the spot for me,” Battle said.

    He said he felt he could not be himself at TCU.

    “Whenever I would bring my family and friends to visit,” Battle said, “they could always notice that I was different from how they remembered me in the past.”

    Battle came to TCU in the fall of 2003 and sat out his first year as a redshirt. He came off a three-year career at Denton Ryan High School, where he compiled a record of 42-4 and drew plenty of attention from local colleges.

    Battle never made it higher than fourth on the depth chart behind veteran players at TCU.

    He said he is in an overall better position at SFA.

    Zeke Dixon has been labeled the starter at SFA by various sports publications, but Battle is no lower than third on the depth chart and feels he has a better chance to play with the Lumberjacks.

    SFA quarterback coach Jay Rogers said Battle will have an opportunity to play.

    “Zeke is our starter, but at some point this season Battle will get his chance to play,” Rogers said.

    Battle saw SFA as the most logical place for him to relocate. He maintained connections from high school and has former coaches from Denton Ryan now coaching at SFA. He was also impressed with SFA’s educational system.

    “Everything is a learning process for him,” Rogers said. “It’s just like he is a true freshmen all over again.”

    Rogers said Battle is doing well and appears to be happy.

    “He tells me all the time that he likes everyone here and how happy he is,” Rogers said. “He seems to really be reaching his comfort level.”

    Battle said there have been no feelings of animosity or controversy following his departure.

    “I love all the players and the people over at TCU,” Battle said. “I just didn’t feel I could be me there.”

    Head coach Gary Patterson backed Battle’s statement.

    “James was a well-liked guy,” Patterson said. “He had a lot of off-the-field issues that prevented him from making many friends off the field, but we will miss him.”

    The team understands where James was coming from and they realize that sometimes you just need a fresh start,” Patterson said.

    Battle is feeling good about his current situation with SFA.

    Patterson said Tye Gunn has been healthy during the spring and summer and is anticipating a strong season as a Frog, giving hope that TCU won’t have to rely on their back-ups as much.

    Battle wished the team good luck in their upcoming season, especially for the first game in Oklahoma.

    “I wish I could be there,” he said.