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K.J. Costello to transfer for final year of eligibility

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Senior quarterback K.J. Costello has entered the transfer portal as an immediately eligible graduate transfer. The two-year captain is the latest of 13 Cardinal players to enter the portal this offseason.

The news was not unexpected and will clear the path for junior Davis Mills to assume the starting position. In seven starts, Mills was impressive for the Cardinal and set the single-game school record with 504 yards at Washington State.

Entering the season, Costello drew draft hype and was named to numerous award watch lists, including for the Davey O’Brien, Maxwell, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm and Manning awards.

Costello played in just five games this season.

He was limited in fall camp with a shoulder injury. In the first game of the season, he suffered a concussion, allowing Mills to make his first career start against USC. Against Oregon, Costello suffered an injury to his thumb that kept him out until his triumphant return on Homecoming, but his season ended one game later in Boulder

“K.J. and I had a conversation yesterday, and I just told him that I love him,” said Stanford head coach David Shaw after the season finale loss to Notre Dame. “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.”

Costello’s career blossomed in 2017 as a sophomore, when he took over the starting role from Keller Chryst and went to the Pac-12 championship. In 2018, Costello was named to the All-Pac-12 second team with a historic season. 

His 3,540 passing yards and seven 300-yard passing games on the season were both second-mosts in school history. The 29 touchdowns were third, 269 completions fourth and 155 passing efficiency fifth in a season in program history. Costello also led the Pac-12 and was 12th in the nation with 8.57 yards per attempt.

“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,” Shaw said. “I commend him and his family on how he’s handled this very, very difficult situation.”

Contact Daniel Martinez-Krams at danielmk ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Daniel Martinez-Krams '22 is a desk editor in the sports section. He is originally from Berkeley, California. Contact him at danielmk ‘at’ stanford.edu.