Mike Leach had to leave Washington State to beat Jimmy Lake in something.
Stanford senior quarterback K.J. Costello — who officially entered the NCAA’s transfer portal in December and visited the University of Washington last week — announced Monday that he will make a graduate transfer to Mississippi State, where he will be immediately eligible in his final collegiate season in 2020.
The 6-foot-5, 222-pound Costello completed 63 percent of his passes in 29 career games with the Cardinal, throwing for 6,151 yards with 49 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. A two-time captain, the Coto de Caza, Calif., product was named to the All-Pac-12 second team in 2018. He struggled with injuries last season, appearing in just five games and throwing for 1,038 yards with six touchdowns and three picks.
For what it’s worth, Costello was 1-1 in two career games against Lake’s UW defense, completing 45 of 70 passes while throwing for a total of 558 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Former Wake Forest quarterback Jamie Newman also listed Washington as a potential landing spot before making a graduate transfer to Georgia last month.
In the wake of redshirt junior Jacob Eason’s unsurprising entry in the 2020 NFL Draft, UW’s quarterback room could use a few more eligible arms. It appears the Huskies will enter spring practice with three scholarship quarterbacks and former four-star recruits — redshirt sophomore Jacob Sirmon, redshirt freshman Dylan Morris and true freshman Ethan Garbers. Of that trio, Sirmon — who completed 2 of 3 passes for 19 yards in mop-up duty last season — is the only player who has appeared in a college game.
Of course, there’s no shortage of talent for first-year UW offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach John Donovan to develop. Before signing with Washington in 2018, the 6-5, 234-pound Sirmon was ranked as the No. 8 pro-style passer in his class by 247Sports. Morris — a 6-0, 196-pound redshirt freshman from Puyallup — was a four-year starter at Graham-Kapowsin High School who earned positive reviews from UW’s coaches during his first season on campus. And all Garbers did last fall was lead Corona Del Mar (Calif.) High School to a 16-0 season and a California state title, completing 69.6 percent of his passes while throwing for 5,034 yards with 71 touchdowns and five interceptions. Suffice to say, the quarterback competition should be compelling.
But Sirmon, Morris and Garbers’ potential is accompanied by precious little Pac-12 production. The transfers of Jake Haener and Colson Yankoff — who resurfaced at Fresno State and UCLA, respectively, last offseason — certainly didn’t help. The Huskies’ starting quarterback in 2020 — whoever he is — will also be surrounded by new starters at both tackle spots, center, running back, tight end and wide receiver.
Offensively, at least, significant questions still remain. And Costello, it seems, will not serve as an instant answer.