UVa closed out the week and began May with yet another big commitment on the gridiron, picking up graduate transfer quarterback Keytaon Thompson from Mississippi State.
Thompson, a big kid at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, will have two years of eligibility remaining and can begin playing this coming season, provided there is one, meaning he will likely compete for the starting job with Brennan Armstrong, who will be a redshirt sophomore entering his third year in the program.
Thompson was originally a four-star recruit who, in 2017, committed to Mississippi State and former Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen, who beat Virginia as the coach at Florida in the Orange Bowl. You have to wonder if Bronco Mendenhall gave Mullen a call recently to talk about Thompson. MSU is going into its first season under new coach Mike Leach after two years with Joe Moorhead leading the program. Moorhead took the Bulldogs to two bowl games and went 14-12 in Starkville, but he regressed from 8-5 to 6-7 and a lack of discipline in the program seemed to get the best of him when he was fired at the end of this past season.
Thompson appeared in 20 games for MSU and won his only two starts, most notably the 2017 TaxSlayer Bowl as a true freshman when his Bulldogs topped a pretty good college QB named Lamar Jackson and the Louisville Cardinals, 31-27. Thompson started with junior Nick Fitzgerald out with an injury. In that contest, Thompson completed only 11 of 20 passes for 127 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception, but he ran 27 times for 147 yards and three scores. Indeed, over his 20 games, Thompson was a much better runner than passer. He completed 47.6 percent of his passes (50 of 105) for 846 yards, eight TDs and three INTs while rushing 99 times for 672 yards (6.8 yards per carry) and 10 scores. In the 2018 season opener, with Fitzgerald suspended, Thompson started against outmatched Stephen F. Austin in a 63-6 victory. At the beginning of the 2019 season, Thompson entered the transfer portal but decided to remain at the school, but he saw action in only one game.
Thompson is no doubt looking for a fresh start after all of the coaching turnover he saw at MSU. And Virginia needed quarterback depth, with no starting experience on the roster and Armstrong the lone player who has any significant college experience. Thompson will be great competition for Armstrong, who should still have the edge at starting for now, especially with the coronavirus pandemic keeping everyone indoors. It is tough to know how much practice Thompson will get with his new teammates by the end of August, whereas Armstrong already has experience in Virginia's system. Thompson is bigger than Armstrong, but Armstrong is by no means little, listed at 6-2 and 220 pounds. The sample size is small, but Armstrong also has been more accurate in college at 68 percent (17 of 25).
Mendenhall was excited when talking about the Thompson transfer Friday but also made it a point to mention Armstrong, "that we already love," noting it takes two solid QBs to compete for a Coastal Division championship.
The Cavaliers have been absolutely on fire on the recruiting trail the past couple of weeks. On Thursday night, 6-4, 215-pound Michael Green, out of Lafayette High School in Williamsburg, joined the list of commitments for 2021. He is expected to slot in at outside linebacker.
Since the last week of March, UVA football has landed (247 rating):— EmbraceThePace (@EmbracePaceUVA) May 1, 2020
Keytaon Thompson (94)
Ronnie Walker (89)
Josh McCarron (88)
Michael Green (88)
Jesiah Davis (87)
Jacob Rodriguez (86)
William Simpkins (85)
Micah Gaffney (84)
We can't wait to see who's next and are hoping some form of football happens this fall, because the Virginia football program is riding a wave of momentum.
I don't know what this fall will bring, but jeez I hope we get college football, cuz I think UVA is straight primed to run it back on the Coastal. Two great upperclass QB prospects, the entire OL back, and our defense as nasty as ever. Back-2-Back Coastal Champs sounds great!— Hoos Place (@HoosPlace) May 1, 2020