- Virginia has secured a commitment from Grad Transfer QB Keytaon Thompson from Mississippi State
- Thompson was a 4-star prospect and went 2-0 as a starter for the Bulldogs during his time in Starkville
- See below if we think he makes the Cavaliers a legitimate threat to repeat as champions in the ACC’s Coastal Division
The University of Virginia had their best football season in a generation last year, going 9-3 en route to their first ever appearance in the ACC Championship game as winners of the Coastal Division, and also securing their first win over rival Virginia Tech for the first time since 2003.
After losing senior standouts WR Joe Reed and CB Bryce Hall to the NFL, as well as program-changing QB Bryce Perkins to graduation, the Cavaliers were expected to be solid, but not a contender heading into 2020.
With former Mississippi State QB Keytaon Thompson announcing on Friday that he will be heading to UVA as a grad transfer, the Wahoos saw their odds to win the ACC Coastal Division improve.
2020 ACC Coastal Division Odds
Odds Taken May 2nd
While their price in the ACC Championship odds at +4000 is a little steep to provide value, Thompson’s addition could make their divisional odds a steal for bettors.
How Did He Get Here?
Originally 4-star recruit out of New Orleans, Thompson looked to be in line as successor to Nick Fitzgerald in Starkville over the past two seasons. His career at Mississippi State included 20 appearances and two starts – the first of which was against Lamar Jackson and Louisville in the 2017 Taxslayer Bowl.
In that game he threw for just 127 yards, but was lethal as a runner as he slashed through the Cardinals defense for 147 yards and three scores.
As a Dan Mullen-era recruit, he fell out of favor with the Joe Moorhead staff the past two seasons and was never given an opportunity to claim the starting job.
He arrives at Virginia looking tailor-made for their offensive system as a true dual threat, with over 800 yards passing, 672 yards rushing and 18 total touchdowns. Thompson also should be effective in option threats, as he has a career average of 6.8 yards per carry.
Keep Calm & Keytaon
Although he doesn’t quite have the burst and playmaking ability of Perkins, watching Thompson you can see flashes of similar ability.
While not yet a consistent downfield passer, he consistently can make throws on one or two reads in the pocket, and has a good sense of when to use his legs and escape.
Working in Thompson’s favor is a better crop of skill players than he had at State.
Virginia returns their top two receivers in Hasise Dubois (75 rec, 1,062 yards, 6 TD) and Terrell Jana (73 rec, 878 yards, 3 TDs) and secured a commitment from Indiana transfer RB Ronnie Walker. Power back Wayne Taulapapa, who broke out for 473 yards rushing and a whopping 12 touchdowns, is back for his junior season as well.
Can UVA Win the Coastal?
Considering this division has had seven different winners in the past seven seasons, trying to predict a winner may be a fool’s errand.
Losing a combined 14 seniors on both sides of the ball is tough to overcome, but no other team is a complete lock to have success.
Mack Brown’s UNC team has been wowing on the recruiting trail, but has their defence improved enough to not let down standout Sam Howell and the Heels offense? Louisville took a massive leap under Scott Satterfield, but they’re also breaking in a new QB in Mychale Cunningham.
Miami looks to be the surest thing right now, as their defense should once again be strong under Manny Diaz – and they added one of the most electric playmakers in the country with D’Eriq King behind center.
Luckily enough for the Cavaliers all three of Miami, UNC and Louisville are scheduled to come to Charlottesville should the season take place.
With that break in scheduling and Thompson at the helm, sprinkling down a little cash on Virginia to win the Coastal at +900 looks to be a valuable play.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.