Keytaon Thompson

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QB Keytaon Thompson steps out of transfer portal, will stay at Mississippi State

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Mississippi State just improved the depth at the quarterback position. Keytaon Thompson has decided not to explore his transfer options any further and will remain with the Mississippi State program, head coach Joe Moorhead announced on Monday.

Thompson has already returned to Mississippi State football practices and has been slotted as the second-string quarterback behind starter Tommy Stevens (who transferred to the program from Penn State to reunite with his former offensive coordinator, Moorhead). Thompson explored his transfer options by entering his name in the NCAA transfer portal one day after Stevens had been named the starting quarterback for the Bulldogs by Moorhead. Such a move by a quarterback not being named the starter has been a common occurrence over the past year, and a handful of transfer quarterbacks have gotten off to stellar starts this season (Justin Fields at Ohio State, Jalen Hurts at Oklahoma, and Jacob Eason at Washington to name a few).

Thompson’s decision to stay at Mississippi State is a nice boost for Moorhead. Thompson is a former four-star recruit from the New Orleans area and he likely would have had some worthwhile options to explore if he wanted. Among those options likely could have been Florida, where former Mississippi State Dan Mullen and a number of former Mississippi State staff members who were involved in his original recruiting now reside. But with Thompson deciding to stay in Starkville, at least for now, gives Moorhead another player with the potential to rely on in the offense. And given Moorhead’s past as an offensive coordinator at Penn State in finding ways to utilize Stevens when he had Trace McSorley locked in as a starting quarterback, perhaps the head coach will find some ways to get Thompson involved in the offense as the season continues.

Mississippi State QB Nick Fitzgerald suspended for season opener

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One of the top quarterbacks in the SEC will not get the chance to start on opening day this weekend. Head coach Joe Moorhead announced Nick Fitzgerald has been suspended for the season opener due to a violation of team rules. Keytaon Thompson will get the start instead for Week 1.

The exact nature of the violation is unconfirmed, although the incident that resulted in the suspension-worthy violation is reported to have occurred in March. Barring any other announcements, it is expected Fitzgerald will be reinstated for Mississippi State’s road contest at Kansas State in Week 2, but an announcement from Moorhead will have to confirm that at a later time.

Fitzgerald passed for 1,782 yards and 15 touchdowns and rushed for 984 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Bulldogs last season. His ability to be a dual-threat seemingly makes for an ideal quarterback for Moorhead as he takes over the program.

Thompson appeared in 10 games last season, in which he completed 32 of 66 pass attempts for 388 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. Thompson also rushed for 446 yards and six touchdowns, and he should be a suitable fill-in as a starter for Mississippi State’s season opener, even against a solid FCS program.

Defensive tackle Cory Thomas was also suspended by Moorhead for the season opener.

Mississippi State hosts Stephen F. Austin on Saturday.