It's an open race for the next starting Stanford quarterback. Ryan Burns and Keller Chryst have been battling it out this spring in hopes to be the next in line after Kevin Hogan. Class of 2016 commit K.J. Costello is ready to throw his name into the ring now that he is on-campus.
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound pro-style quarterback has been spending the past few months "getting the body right" and studying the playbook so he can be ready when he gets to The Farm.
"Last year, Hogan was the guy," Costello said. "I know Keller and Burns pretty well and have a lot of respect for them, but I look forward to competing from day one"
The intricacies of Stanford's offense can be a lot to handle, but Costello is up for the challenge. He styles his game after Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, and Costello wants to bring the same mental approach as the New England Patriots quarterback.
“Brady does a lot more than just throw the ball. He manages the game. He understands and puts the offense in a position to take advantage every snap.”
The ability to dissect a defense and be surgical in preparation and execution is what helps set Costello apart. Now coming into a quarterback battle, the signal-caller is attacking the playbook as much, if not more, than the weight room. He said his mental preparation to physical prep currently splits out to about 60-40.
The emphasis on the mental edge was further developed when Costello participated in the U.S. Army All-American game as well as the 2015 Elite 11.
“You pull up and check in and you see about 18 guys who can you do basically exactly what you can do. That's when doing things outside of the certain physical skills comes into factor, little things that separate yourself,” Costello said.
“Now you have to find little ways to separate yourself: your character, the mental side of the game turns into a whole other deal, understanding that you're going to get your advantage mentally through preparation or other things because you're on the ball.”
Costello is one of the top players in a decorated 2016 Stanford recruiting class. From versatile tight ends to “The Fat Five” along the offensive line to aggressive pass rushers in the front seven, ballhawks in the secondary and special team stars, this class brings a little bit of everything.
“I think that's the one word I would use to describe this class: versatility,” Costello said.
"Most importantly, we've all been in a group chat for about a year now. We all know each other really well so I don't think we're going to be wasting time feeling each other out or getting to know each other. I think that's going to have an extremely fast and we are all going to obviously push each other to do what's best for the team."
When it’s all said and done, Costello wants this class and himself to accomplish a lot over the next few years. He hopes to be a three or four-year starter with a degree “in-hand” and Rose Bowls and national titles heading the Cardinal’s way.
“There's a reason I’m going where I'm going: to play the best football in the country with the best degree.”
Now, Costello “anxiously” awaits throwing himself full force into a quarterback battle. He misses a football atmosphere, something he hadn’t been able to experience the past six months. He’s hungry, and that’s what the Stanford coaching staff wants.
“Coach Shaw wants us to feel that way. I'm more excited than anything for me to be able to focus on school, football and realistically nothing else,” Costello said. “I feel like it's going to be an exciting time where progress is waiting to happen at a fast rate because my focus is on minimal things and minimal distractions.”