Texas State is an often forgotten program in the CFF landscape. CFF managers are probably justified in paying little attention to the Bobcats. This program has produced a few CFF-relevant assets in the past few seasons.
That might be changing, though, as the Bobcats administration took a huge swing this offseason by hiring former Incarnate Word (IW) head coach GJ Kinne. They also brought in some new personnel via the transfer portal. One of which is a name many will be familiar with — former Arkansas Razorback QB Malik Hornsby.
Personally, I am highly interested in this program. The recipe in San Marcos can potentially produce one of the highest-scoring QBs and WRs for 2023. I need not remind CFF managers about the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers phenomenon in 2021. I am not suggesting that this program is a lock to match that level of success. But there is a significant opportunity for CFF managers to capitalize on it in their drafts. Like WKU’s Kittley in 2021, Kinne brought numerous pieces from his former team to the Bobcats. These assets include the OC and four offensive linemen.
Coaching & System
The Texas State Bobcats hired Kinne this offseason, and his track on offense has my attention. In 2022, IW scored over 31 points in all regular season games and scored over 50 points six times. His QB — Lindsay Scott Jr., threw 60 TD passes and ran in another 11, amassing over 5,300 total yards along the way. The Cardinals saw two receivers over 1,000 yards — Taylor Grimes (1,255) and Darion Chafin (1,244).
Before joining IW, Kinne was the co-OC at UCF in 2021. That season, QB Dillon Gabriel threw 814 yards and nine TDs to only three INTs. He also rushed for 125 additional yards and two TDs in three games (34.7 FPG).
In 2020, Kinne occupied the OC/QB’s coach role for the Hawaii Rainbows. His QB — Chevan Cordeiro (VP article on him coming soon, by the way), threw 2,083 yards, 14 TDs to six INTs, and rushed for 483 yards and seven TDs (26.3 FPG).
Kinne also brought his OC from IW with him to San Marcos. Mac Leftwich joined IW in 2018 as a GA before getting promoted to QBs coach; he served in this capacity from 2019 – 2021 before being elevated to OC in 2022. Given Leftwich’s lack of experience, his track record is essentially the same as Kinne’s. However, it is encouraging that he has experience mentoring and coaching a dual-threat QB in Scott, who lit the FCS on fire last season.
It should be noted that Kinne is only 34 and just recently began his coaching career. He appears to be a young up-and-coming star in the collegiate ranks, and that excites me for the Texas State offense in 2023. In particular, the QB/WR positions are intriguing options for CFF. I’ve already written about WR Ashtyn Hawkins, which you can find here. Today, I want to focus on a QB that could have a monster 2023 season for the Bobcats.
QB Malik Hornsby – 6’2 “, 186 lbs.
Hornsby began his career in the SEC with Arkansas, joining the Razorbacks in the class of 2020 out of Missouri City, TX. He spent the last three seasons as KJ Jefferson’s backup and was rumored to be transitioning to WR at one point. As of now, he’s still a QB. He’s still in line to potentially be the starter for the Bobcats in the upcoming season.
The best game of his career came against Mississippi State on October 8th, 2022, in which he passed for 234 yards, a TD, and two INTs, and ran for an additional 114 yards on eight carries. The dual-threat component is a crucial part of his CFF profile, as he has been labeled an unrefined passer as he wrote this article.
However, in the new system — which is very dual-threat QB friendly, should Hornsby secure the starting QB role, which is likely given the lack of options in the room, his CFF profile could jump through the roof in the Sunbelt conference.
In the three seasons with the Razorbacks, Hornsby’s sole start as a QB was the above mention contest. Thus, his FPG averages from these seasons offer little-to-no informational value for our purposes.
That being said, considering the low price to acquire him, I have no problem banking on his upside as a passer and his rushing ability.
- Hornsby has yet to prove he can be an effective passer. To fully capitalize on his CFF value, he will need to be able to do damage through the air in addition to his rushing ability.
- He also has little-to-no production thus far in his career, so there is a big question mark here with respect to what we know he can do.
- He has yet to secure the QB1 role for the Bobcats, although I suspect he will win it eventually.
- The Bobcats may struggle a lot in year one of GJ Kinne’s regime. The Sunbelt is one of the better levels of Group of Five (G5) level football. They will be facing some strong defenses throughout their conference play, in addition to likely getting dunked on in the out-of-conference schedule. Piggybacking off that, I’ll add the assertion that — like most G5 players — Hornsby will be more of a value in October and November than in September.
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