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Tuesday, September 10, 2013
2016 QB Costello makes early statement

By Blair Angulo

MISSION VIEJO, Calif. -- Class of 2016 quarterback K.J. Costello (Coto de Caza, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) had no idea what the exact number was.

The gunslinger heard a brief announcement over the loudspeaker during the game and noticed the cheers, but he was oblivious to his statistics. The drama had consumed him.

Following a gut-wrenching, double-overtime loss to Las Vegas Bishop Gorman, Costello finally got word that his 449 passing yards set a school record. His eyes grew wide.

K.J. Costello
Sophomore K.J. Costello of Santa Margarita Catholic might be the best quarterback in Orange County.
It was a coming-out party of sorts for the sophomore and perhaps the first of many stellar performances.

“I had a bunch of mistakes,” said Costello, already sounding like an upperclassmen.

Costello grew up rooting for USC, where his mother got her degree, and he attended the school’s Rising Stars Camp this past June. He fared well there among a group of quarterbacks that included some of the best in the 2015 class.

“I’ve been a USC fan my whole life,” Costello said. “My mom went there, and it’s a good place, but I’ll go anywhere. I just want to play football. I’ve been to my share of USC games. It’s a great place. Hopefully someday I’ll get an offer.”

Costello, who completed 24 of 42 passes for four touchdowns Friday against Gorman, including a 95-yarder to 2015 receiver Kyle Sweet, already might be the top signal caller in Orange County, regardless of class.

UCLA assistant coach Taylor Mazzone was on the sidelines last week watching Gorman’s Alize Jones -- the No. 1 tight end in 2015 -- but he also set his eyes on Costello, who debuted with 243 passing yards against La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat the week before.

“Earlier this summer, I went up to Stanford, another dream school of mine,” Costello said. “That was unreal. Really, I’m just trying to play football. If the next level happens, then it happens. I’ve also gotten some interest from Washington State, and UCLA has sent me letters.”

While the gaudy numbers early on might suggest otherwise, not all the pressure is on Costello. Sweet, who has more than 500 receiving yards through two games, is a dynamic playmaker. Last year he filled in for Johnny Stanton (Nebraska) at quarterback after the Elite 11 finalist went down with an injury early in the season.

Santa Margarita also features Utah commit Jeremy McNichols, who transferred from Lakewood (Calif.), at running back.

“We have a big-time running back who has been a receiver his whole life, but he’s been opening up the passing game for me,” Costello said. “I just have to focus on the little things.”