Texas Tech football coach Kliff Kingsbury said on national signing day that Patrick Mahomes would be the Red Raiders’ top backup quarterback next season. All the Red Raiders had to do was get the Whitehouse standout to campus.
Both sides will get some clarity on that situation when the three-day Major League Baseball draft starts Thursday. Mahomes can play football and baseball at Tech, but a Major League organization could pry him away full-time if one is willing to offer him a sufficiently high draft slot and signing bonus.
“There’s no way to guess,” Mahomes said Wednesday. “It kind of depends on how much a team is willing to pay.”
Mahomes, who is 6-foot-2 ½ and 212 pounds, was The Associated Press Sports Editors Texas high school player of the year last season in football. He passed for 4,619 yards and 50 touchdowns and ran for 920 yards and 15 TDs, leading his team to a 12-1 season. In baseball, he went 5-2 as a pitcher with a 1.78 earned-run average. His fastball was clocked this season at 95 mph, and he sits in the 90-93 mph range.
In baseball circles, Mahomes has the added appeal of being the son of a long-time big-league pitcher, Pat Mahomes, so he’s been around the game and received top-notch instruction.
Baseball America ranks Mahomes as the No. 419 prospect overall.
Asked if his family has a figure in mind that it would take for him to pass up Tech, Mahomes said, “We’re not entirely sure, so I don’t know exactly what it would be. It’s up there pretty high.”
Mahomes’ circumstances are even more important than usual for the Tech football program, given the lack of depth behind starting quarterback Davis Webb. The transfers of Baker Mayfield, Michael Brewer and Clayton Nicholas after the season, followed by the decisions of walk-ons Tanner Tausch and Mike Richardson not to return after spring practice leave the Red Raiders with little in the way of backups.
That’s why Kingsbury said back in February that Mahomes would be the team’s immediate No. 2 QB.
“It’s really appealing,” Mahomes said. “It’s probably the best situation you could possibly have coming into college, being a backup quarterback. I’ll get a lot of reps and be able to compete every day. That is appealing, and I do like that.”
Kingsbury discusses Mahomes in much the same way he talked about former Tech tight end Jace Amaro, who left school a year early for pro football: He wants him, but he won’t pressure him to pass up riches if they’re on the table.
“I’ve heard there’s a good chance he will be here,” Kingsbury said recently, “so that’s basically what I’m going on. And then I’ve talked to the kid. If the opportunity’s so great and the money’s so great that he needs to do it for his family, that’s what he needs to do. We’re not in one of those situations we’re going to be begging him to come, but we want him here and we think he can contribute early, and he’s going to have to contribute early.
“And if not, we have some other walk-ons that will get coached up and ready to go. We coached up one last year that did pretty well.”
Kingsbury referred to Mayfield, who went from walk-on to the Big 12 offensive freshman of the year.
“We have some new freshmen walk-ons coming in,” Kingsbury said. “It was a similar process to how it went with Baker. We searched the state for the best ones we thought could play Division I football. I guess we’re going to have four true freshmen (quarterbacks) coming in total, including Patrick, and so we’ll get them all reps and try to get guys ready to play.”
Mahomes laid the groundwork last weekend for starting college, coming to Tech, attending orientation and visiting with Kingsbury. If he doesn’t get drafted or get taken in a favorable spot, he said he has a flight back to Lubbock this weekend and would start summer school on Monday.
“I have no clue what’s going to happen,” he said. “I figure I’ll either get drafted pretty high or I’ll get drafted really late.”