K.J. Costello Announces Transfer to Mississippi State from Stanford

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IFebruary 3, 2020

PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 26:  K.J. Costello #3 of the Stanford Cardinal reacts after he thought the Cardinal scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Arizona Wildcats at Stanford Stadium on October 26, 2019 in Palo Alto, California. The ball was ruled down on the one yard line on the play. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Former Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello announced his decision to transfer to Mississippi State on Monday.

The announcement accompanied a lengthy message thanking his teammates and coaches while describing how it was his dream to play for Stanford:

LilKev @kj_costello

Thank you Stanford🙏🏻 Dreams do become reality. Excited for what is next📈 #HailState https://t.co/LibimJIsBR

247Sports' Dean Straka reported Dec. 18 that Costello had entered his name into the NCAA transfer portal, seeking a grad transfer for his final year of eligibility.

Costello only played five games in 2019. He suffered a concussion in the season-opening 17-7 win over Northwestern and missed Stanford's Pac-12 opener against USC the following week. The California native injured his thumb against Oregon on Sept. 21 and remained out until Oct. 26. He last played Nov. 9 against Colorado.

Overall, Costello posted 1,028  passing yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions on 61.1 completion percentage. His best season as a Cardinal came in 2018, when he tossed for 3,540 yards, 29 touchdowns and 11 picks on 65.1 percent completion while Stanford went 9-4.

Stanford head coach David Shaw commended Costello following the team's final game of the season, a 45-24 loss to Notre Dame, per Stanford Daily's Daniel Martinez-Krams:

"K.J. and I had a conversation yesterday, and I just told him that I love him. I felt for him. The aspirations that he had, difficult when you can't attain those. Didn't even have an opportunity to go after those.


"K.J. was hoping for a bowl game and just trying to hopefully get a chance to go back in and play because at the end of the day he just wants to play football. I commend him and his family on how he's handled this very, very difficult situation."

Davis Mills stepped in for the injured Costello in 2019 and will likely assume Stanford's full-time starting position as a redshirt junior in 2020.

At Mississippi State, Costello will have the chance to compete for the starting job under head coach Mike Leach, who is known for his offensive prowess and ability to lead high-powered offenses. 

The graduate transfer is joining what Tyler Horka of the Mississippi Clarion Ledger called a "somewhat crowded quarterback room" that includes sophomore Garrett Shrader, who "looked to be the future of the program." True freshman Will Rogers, redshirt junior Keytaon Thompson and redshirt sophomore Jalen Mayden are also on the roster.

If Costello wins the job, he is sure to throw early and often considering Horka noted a Leach-coached quarterback has led the nation in passing attempts in four of the last five seasons.