10 things to know about Mississippi State QB KJ Costello
Stanford transfer quarterback KJ Costello’s arrival offers hope to Mississippi State fans that an offensive explosion is bound for the 2020 season.
Costello is ranked as College Football News’ No. 9 prospect for the 2021 NFL Draft and with good reason. Costello was marred by injuries last season at Stanford, as he amassed just 1,038 yards and 6 touchdowns.
However, the 6-5 222-pound grad transfer has excellent size, a strong arm and a high football IQ. If Costello stays healthy, he’ll have a great chance to resemble the 2018 second-team All-Pac-12 version of himself who posted 3,540 yards and 29 touchdowns.
No longer stifled by the rigid pro-style offense, Costello will have the freedom to thrive in Leach’s Air Raid attack. Leach has produced a top 20 passer for 7 consecutive seasons, with 6 occasions being a top 10 passer, according to Pro Football Network.
Last season, 87% of Washington State’s yards were generated through the passing game. Mississippi State was 55-45, favoring the run. That should have Costello salivating at the possibilities.
Let’s get to know Costello better with these 10 interesting tidbits:
1. Broke Carson Palmer’s high school passing record
Costello was a 4-star prospect in the 2015 class. He was the No. 3-ranked pro-style passer, behind a couple of familiar names to SEC fans: Shea Patterson and Jacob Eason.
Costello had a decorated high school career on the West Coast. Costello holds 19 records at Santa Margarita Catholic (Calif.). The most notable is when Costello amassed 8,222 career passing yards to surpass former NFL quarterback Carson Palmer. Not too shabby of a way to head into the collegiate ranks.
2. High IQ off the field as well
Costello is lauded for his intelligence on the field and that sharpness translates into other aspects of his life. Costello was on the Presidential Honor Roll in high school and was selected as a Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention as a freshman and sophomore. Costello majored in Political Science at Stanford.
3. Avid ping pong and golf enthusiast
Getting ready for the American Century in a couple years⛳️🏌️ A lot of competition out there. I’m pulling for Romo tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/EvkIHH86Wi
— LilKev (@kj_costello) July 14, 2019
When Costello isn’t sharpening his craft, chances are he’s getting his competitive fix in some other challenging hobbies. Costello particularly enjoys playing ping pong and golf in his spare time. The hand-eye coordination required for both activities definitely crosses over to the football field for Costello.
4. Lauded as Mike Leach’s most talented quarterback
Leach has coached many skilled quarterbacks during his extensive career, including Gardner Minshew.
Yet there’s growing sentiment that Costello is the most naturally impressive of them all.
“Leach now has his most physically talented quarterback to date,” Pro Football Network’s Matthew Valdovinos said.
Costello hasn’t taken a snap at Mississippi State yet. However, the potential is undeniably there and that’s why so many experts are high on him.
5. Matt Leinart was his favorite college football player growing up
The USC legend believes Costello is going to have a “massive year” under Leach. Costello responded on Twitter by showing love to the Heisman Trophy winner.
— LilKev (@kj_costello) July 27, 2020
As a California kid, it makes complete sense that Costello idolized one of the greatest college quarterbacks of all time. Now let’s see if Costello can craft his own legacy.
6. Wants to emulate Gardner Minshew
Before Minshew Mania swept over the NFL in Jacksonville, he was a standout at Washington State under Leach.
Now that Costello is paired with Leach, he’s paying particular attention to the ways in which Minshew excelled in college.
S/O to Minshew Mania. Been watching his tape all day and taking notes 📝 He ran the Air Raid like a fighter pilot ✈️ 🎯 @GardnerMinshew5
— LilKev (@kj_costello) July 22, 2020
If Costello can resemble anything close to the college version of Minshew, Mississippi State fans will be in for a real treat.
Costello will need to work on his mustache game, though.
Mike Leach on Gardner Minshew’s mustache: pic.twitter.com/OvdfOSEFEv
— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) November 10, 2018
7. Has morphed into a top chef over the summer
Costello has been throwing down in the kitchen ever since he arrived in Starkville.
I’ve been living solo for almost two months now, boy am I turning into a Chef 🍴💯
— LilKev (@kj_costello) July 27, 2020
Being on your own can help you develop life skills you might not have imagined. The taste of victory and some Southern cuisine would make for the perfect combination for Costello on Saturdays this season.
8. Football is in his DNA
This photo made my day. My Dad with some pub in the local news back in ‘78. Ran the triple option & from what the record books say, he ran is well👏🏻 Salute to the CV Falcons‼️ pic.twitter.com/Y1TqBTi26T
— LilKev (@kj_costello) May 12, 2020
What an awesome photo. Like father, like son.
Costello’s father Kevin was a high school quarterback in the late 1970’s. Kevin Costello was a dual-threat who operated out of the triple option.
Little Kevin (that’s where the KJ comes from) must definitely be proud to know that his dad was a stud on the field back in the day.
9. Channels the Mamba Mentality
I was thinking about Kobe Bryant throughout my entire workout today. Boy did I feel inspired #MambaMentality
— LilKev (@kj_costello) May 22, 2020
Costello carries California with him no matter where he goes. He uses the tireless legacy of late NBA legend Kobe Bryant to fuel him on a frequent basis. Costello, who played varsity basketball in high school, is determined to grind his way into the hearts of Mississippi State fans.
10. Lives in the moment
No need to cloud your mind with thoughts of the future! It’s day by day, minute by minute 🔋#HailState
— LilKev (@kj_costello) June 9, 2020
There’s a lot of hype and expectations for Costello. However, it’s encouraging to see that he has a mature perspective. The Bulldogs will go as far as Costello takes them. Having strong mental fortitude will serve Costello extremely well during a challenging SEC slate.
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