How big of an impact will K.J. Costello make on the field this season for Mississippi State?

That was a hot topic recently as the FOX Sports crew of college football analysts debated the level of impact the graduate transfer from Stanford will make in his one season in Starkville.

According to former USC quarterback Matt Leinart, Costello is poised to make a bigger impact than any SEC transfer in 2020. In fact, Leinart ranks Costello as the No. 2 impact transfer in the nation, behind only former Oklahoma running back and Ohio State transfer Trey Sermon.

Here is what Leinart had to say during a recent episode of FOX’s “Big Noon Kickoff” pregame show.

“He’s a really good football player and I’m more just excited to see this system and he go into the SEC with Mike Leach, and compete,” Leinart said. “I totally agree with Joel, Georgia, the roster, the fact that Jamie Newman or JT Daniels they have a better shot of leading their team to a playoff than Mississippi State, I understand that, but when I combine K.J. Costello, his skill set, his game, and this system – this kid is going to have a massive year.

“Rob, you mentioned the numbers of these quarterbacks that come from Mike Leach a few minutes ago, I mean, they’re astronomical. This kid, two years ago, was an all Pac-12 quarterback. He threw 3,500 yards, 29 touchdowns. He could run the football. He’s a big dude, athletic. I’m excited. I think we all are excited and entertained to see what Mike Leach can do in the SEC. And I think he’s got a great signal-caller in K.J. Costello, leading that football team.”

There’s no doubt Leinart makes some good points there when discussing Costello and the reasons why he could be in for a big season this fall in Starkville but according to Urban Meyer, one key aspect is being overlooked when it comes to evaluating Leach’s offense and Mississippi State’s new quarterback.

Neither one is accustomed to facing the elite defenses found in the SEC.

“Let me throw this at you, there’s one common denominator that you’re not mentioning, they don’t play in the SEC (prior to their transfer), now they are,” Meyer said on the show. “And I’ve just got a lot of respect for those defenses of the SEC.

“Mike Leach is a dear friend and I’m anxious to see this, what he doesn’t have an offensive line in front of all that quarterback is going to get tattooed like never before. This is with all due respect to the Pac-12 and everywhere else, the Big 12, you’re in the SEC where defense is a premium. There’s a lot of NFL draft picks that run really really fast, that are going to be making millions of dollars that are going to be trying to get that quarterback. I’m not buying (the throws for) 4,500 yards.”

Leinart is among the most qualified analysts out there when it comes to playing the quarterback position while the same thing could be said about Meyer when it comes to gameplanning and facing elite SEC defenses.

They both make great points on the subject. It should be fascinating to see which one proves to be correct in the months to come.