With former Virginia Cavaliers quarterback Bryce Perkins off to the NFL, the reins at quarterback will change hands for the second time in the Mendenhall era at UVA. Redshirt sophomore Brennan Armstrong is the incumbent, but the coaching staff has made no secret of the desire to add experienced depth to challenge Armstrong in camp and be a ready backup in case QB1 goes down.
On Friday, the coaches got their man: Mississippi State’s Keytaon Thompson announced he would be joining the Cavaliers.
Thompson was a consensus four-star coming out of Landry-Walker High School in New Orleans in the class of 2017; both Rivals and 247 ranked him among the top 5 dual-threat quarterbacks nationally. He had an offer sheet to match, choosing Mississippi State over LSU, Florida, Miami, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and about a dozen others. He was the Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year, in a year that Louisiana prospects included Travis Etienne and Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
After enrolling early in Starkville, Thompson backed up Nick Fitzgerald for most of his true freshman season in 2017. When Fitzgerald went down with a season-ending injury in the Egg Bowl, Thompson stepped in and put up more than 300 yards of total offense.
His first career start was the Bulldogs’ appearance in the TaxSlayer Bowl; Thompson scored three times on 155 yards rushing and powered MSU to a win over Louisville.
Thompson started the season opener for 2018 with Fitzgerald still recovering, then stepped back into a backup role. He made 9 total appearances in 2018 and entered his name in the transfer portal at the end of the year. Thompson returned to Starkville for the 2019 season but only saw game action once, again in the Egg Bowl against Ole Miss. With former Stanford quarterback KJ Costello transferring to play for new MSU coach Mike Leach this offseason, Thompson again entered the transfer portal.
The athletic department confirmed that the 6-foot-4, 225-pound graduate transfer will be eligible immediately and bring two years of eligibility to Charlottesville.