Former Stanford quarterback KJ Costello announced Monday that he’s grad transferring to Mississippi State to play for Mike Leach and his ‘Air-Raid’ offensive attack. He has one year of eligibility remaining and can play right away in 2020.
This is a huge score for Leach, who left Washington State to take the job in Starkville last month.
In 2018, Costello was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection. He completed 269-of-413 passes (65.1%) for 3,540 yards with a 29/11 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Costello started all 13 games in 2018, leading the Cardinal to a 9-4 record. One of Stanford’s losses was a 41-38 home defeat against Leach’s Washington State Cougars.
Costello was brilliant in the losing effort. He connected on 34-of-43 throws for 323 yards and four TDs without an interception against the Cougars. It was one of four games in ’18 that Costello threw for at least four TD passes.
As a redshirt freshman in 2017, Costello played in 11 games for a Stanford squad that finished 9-5. He completed 124-of-211 passes (58.8%) for 1,573 yards with a 14/4 TD-INT ratio. Costello also had 92 rushing yards and three TDs.
Costello’s 2019 campaign got off to an inauspicious start. In the final minute of the second quarter in the opener vs. Northwestern, Costello scrambled for yardage before sliding. A Northwestern defender leveled Cosello with a big hit that caused his head to snap back and hit hard on the field.
He sustained a concussion and didn’t play in the second half or a 45-20 loss at USC in Week 2. Costello came back in losses at UCF and vs. Oregon, only to get injured again and miss the next three games.
On Oct. 26, he returned and played great in a 41-31 home win over Arizona. Costello completed 31-of-44 passes for 322 yards and three TDs without an interception.
Another injury prompted Costello to miss the final three games of the regular season. The 2019 campaign was the worst of David Shaw’s otherwise outstanding tenure in Palo Alto, with Stanford finishing with an abysmal 4-8 record.
Since the regular-season finale, more than a dozen Stanford players have entered the transfer portal. Costello completed 102-of-167 throws (61.1%) for 1,038 yards with a 6/3 TD-INT ratio.
He has a 49/18 career TD-INT ratio. Costello will undoubtedly be the starter for Mississippi State in 2020.
The Bulldogs had true freshman Garrett Shrader and Penn State grad transfer Tommy Stevens as starting QBs this past season. Stevens is out of eligibility and Shrader is going to need some time (or perhaps a position switch?) before he can operate such a pass-oriented offensive system.
Shrader was forced into the lineup early and often in 2019 due to injuries to Stevens. Shrader has excellent athleticism, toughness and heart, but his throwing accuracy needs plenty of work.
Shrader connected on 88-of-153 passes (57.5%) for 1,170 yards with an 8/5 TD-INT ratio. He ran for 587 yards and six TDs, averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
It’s been a busy 24 hours for Leach, who got a 2021 commitment on Feb. 2 from Daniel Greek.
Greek is a 6-foot-4, 230-pound pro-style QB from Liberty Christian High School in Argyle, Texas. 247Sports has him as a three-star recruit that’s ranked as the nation’s No. 30 pro-style QB in the 2021 class.
DraftKings has Mississippi State with 100/1 odds to win the 2020 SEC Championship Game. Costello has 33/1 odds to win the Heisman Trophy.