STARKVILLE • Being the new guy isn’t always the easiest position to be in.
However, quarterback Tommy Stevens said he has felt comfortable in his new surroundings at Mississippi State since he arrived as a graduate transfer from Penn State in June.
“I’ve found ways to interact with people wherever I’ve been so I wasn’t too worried about the relationship aspect,” Stevens said. “Obviously, it was going to be different coming here and not really knowing anybody but everybody has been great with me and treated me like their own and I’m really thankful for that.”
Since all of Stevens’ coursework consists of online classes, it has allowed him to not only spend more time getting to know his new Bulldog teammates but also teaching them the intricacies of Joe Moorhead’s offense that he was able to learn during their two seasons working together with the Nittany Lions.
“This is my fourth year in this offense so I guess that really makes me the most experienced person here in this offense,” Stevens said. “It really helps me be able to be a coach at some point and help guys learn and give them examples of things that we did at Penn State.”
Although Moorhead left State College last year to become MSU’s head coach, Penn State continued to run the same scheme and Stevens has been able to hit the ground running this summer instead of scrambling to pick up an entirely new playbook.
“The base of the offense is all the same,” Stevens said. “Really the biggest difference for me so far is the way things are signaled. It’s pretty much all of the same stuff I was running at Penn State.”
Stevens served as Trace McSorley’s primary back-up for the Nittany Lions for the last three seasons. The 6-foot-5, 235-pounder appeared in 23 games completing 24 of 41 passes for 304 yards, four touchdowns and one interception and rushed 76 times for 506 yards and eight more scores. He also caught 14 passes for 62 yards and two touchdowns as well.
Stevens was projected to be Penn State’s starting signal caller this fall but decided to transfer following the Nittany Lions’ spring game. He officially visited Illinois, Kentucky and Miami (Ohio) before ultimately deciding to reunite with his former offensive coordinator.
“There was a lot of interest once I went into the (transfer) portal,” Stevens said. “Mississippi State was one of the teams that came into the picture and got evaluated just like everybody else. I eventually found that this was the best place for me.”
With Stevens on the scene, the Bulldogs have quite the quarterback competition on their hands during fall camp. Stevens is battling junior Keytaon Thompson for the starting job and trusts the two will be able to co-exist whichever emerges as the winner.
“Obviously there’s only going to be one starting quarterback but if all of us can work together and help – one way or another – whichever guy is the starter then that’s the most important thing,” Stevens said. “We were able to do that at Penn State and everything that I’ve been shown so far leads me to believe that we will do the same thing here.”