Mississippi State football: 2020 Quarterback room is getting crowded

Garrett Shrader of the Mississippi State Bulldogs (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Garrett Shrader of the Mississippi State Bulldogs (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Mississippi State football head coach Mike Leach is going to have his work cut out for him sorting out the Bulldogs quarterback situation in 2020.

You can usually never say you have too many quarterbacks, but with the addition of Vanderbilt transfer Allan Walters, the Mississippi State football team is getting a little quarterback-crowded. For head coach Mike Leach, this is probably an ideal scenario.

Walters joins Stanford grad transfer K.J. Costello, redshirt junior Keytaon Thompson, redshirt sophomore Jalen Mayden, sophomore Garrett Shrader and freshman Will Rogers in a Mississippi State quarterback room that’s now bursting at the seams.

Per 247 Sports, back in February, Mike Leach said he had hoped that spring practices would give him a chance to assess where each quarterback was in the pecking order and to see how to go about setting his offense up.

Obviously the coronavirus pandemic has thwarted those plans, and now with six quarterbacks to look at and break down his job has become even more difficult.

One thing is for certain, the guy Leach picks as the starter should be prepared to ice down his arm like a starting baseball pitcher every week. Here’s a quick look at what each quarterback brings to the table for Leach and the Bulldogs offense.

Mississippi State football quarterbacks

Allan Walters, redshirt sophomore (transfer from Vanderbilt)

Recruiting Rank: 247 Sports No. 20 Pro-Style QB in 2018 class
Game experience: No starts, played limited snaps in three games during 2019 season
Eligible to Play: 2021, unless new transfer rules go into effect for 2020 season
Scouting: Smart QB with some mobility. Throws accurate, catchable ball and reads defenses well. Questions on arm strength.

K.J. Costello, graduate transfer

Recruiting Rank: 247 Sports No. 3 Pro-Style QB in 2016 class
Game experience: Appeared in 29 games at Stanford with 25 starts
Eligible to Play: 2020
Scouting: Could potentially step right into starter’s role. Has tools Mike Leach loves, and good size at 6’5. Former All-Pac-12 player and team captain.

Keytaon Thompson, redshirt junior

Recruiting Rank: 247 Sports No. 5 Dual-Threat QB in 2017 class
Game experience: Appeared in 19 games with two starts, including 2017 Taxslayer Bowl win over Louisville
Scouting: An able backup for Nick Fitzgerald, Thompson has a real shot at the starting role. Strong arm and excellent speed in open field. Needs to work on accuracy, decision-making.

Jalen Mayden, redshirt sophomore

Recruiting Rank: 247 Sports No. 16 Dual-Threat QB in 2018 class
Game experience: Appeared briefly in three games as a freshman, and then redshirted in 2019
Scouting: Mayden is more likely to land a backup spot as a No. 2 or 3 QB on the roster. He’s got good size and running ability, but needs a lot of work on throwing motion and footwork.

Garrett Shrader, sophomore

Recruiting Rank: 247 Sports No. 9 Dual-Threat QB in 2019 class
Game experience: Appeared in 10 games with five starts
Scouting: Very smart QB who makes good decisions. Just as dangerous with legs as he is with his arm. Prior to Mike Leach taking HC job, Shrader was probably looked at as the No. 1 QB for 2020.

Will Rogers, freshman

Recruiting Rank: 247 Sports No. 24 Pro-Style QB in 2020 class
Game experience: True freshman in 2020
Scouting: Most likely a redshirt year to Rogers barring any injuries or unexpected departures. He’ll get a look from Leach like all the other QBs on the roster right now but will probably play on the scout team in 2020. Will definitely need some time in the weight room strengthening arm and frame.

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