Mac Engel: Patrick Mahomes' Texas high school coach explains why so many schools missed

Mac Engel: Patrick Mahomes' Texas high school coach explains why so many schools missed

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) celebrates his 27-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter against the Tennessee Titans during the AFC championship game on January 19, 2020, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) celebrates his 27-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter against the Tennessee Titans during the AFC championship game on January 19, 2020, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. (Rich Sugg/Kansas City Star/TNS)

FORT WORTH, Texas - By now you know Patrick Mahomes received but three offers to play college quarterback, and what you may not know is that it was a TCU assistant coach who predicted the exact moment the attention was going to come for the kid from Whitehouse.

By the second week of September 2012, the junior three-sport athlete from Whitehouse, just outside Tyler, was still regarded as more of a baseball prospect.

On Sept. 14, 2012, that changed when Mahomes led Whitehouse to its first win of the season over Sulphur Springs.

Current TCU offensive coordinator coach Sonny Cumbie, who at the time was on Texas Tech's staff, attended the game to recruit someone else. He told the Whitehouse coaching staff, "People are going to know who Patrick Mahomes is now. This game is going to start generating attention for him."

Nope, TCU never offered Mahomes a scholarship. He only received three offers to play football.

Every Super Bowl there are multiple examples of guys who were overlooked, of recruiting rankings that flopped. Mahomes is the case study of the kid who excelled because he didn't play just one sport, even if it hurt him in the "rankings."

Mahomes has the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years, and he is on the verge of owning the NFL.


It happens every year, a player who develops but had been previously ignored by countless teams, and their fleet of coaches.

Even after Cumbie predicted schools would pay attention to Mahomes, which happened, the offers did not flood the Whitehouse offices.

"He was not the prototypical quarterback at the time; he was not some five-step drop player," said one of Mahomes' former coaches, Adam Cook, in a phone interview on Monday. "But he would not get invited to these certain showcase events for high school players, and I would get so frustrated. I knew how good he was, and I couldn't get him into these events.

"The problem was Patrick, when so many other guys were in these showcase events or whatever else, he was competing. He was on the basketball court, competing. He was on the baseball diamond, competing."

Cook strongly believes the biggest reason Mahomes was not buried in scholarship offers was the fear that he was going to play pro baseball.

Coaching staffs have only so many spots, and they often do not want to offer a kid who was going to accept it, only to later turn around and pursue baseball.

Mahomes, whose father was an MLB pitcher who briefly pitched for the Texas Rangers, was a highly regarded baseball prospect.

"The unknown was baseball. Every coach who saw him recognized the talent that he had," Cook said. "It was not ever a deal where they thought he wasn't very good. It was just a matter of what was he going to pursue. They didn't know if he wanted to do this."

At one point, Cook thought Oklahoma State had offered Mahomes a scholarship but it was a misunderstanding. Houston had offered. As did Texas Tech. So did North Texas.

"I think Arizona and Arkansas were in the mix on the baseball side; those are the ones I recall," Cook said. "But he got with (then Texas Tech coach) Kliff Kingsbury and he was sold."


Cook said he has been told by a prominent Texas college coach he hopes to use Mahomes as an example to be used for all high school football players in the state, and not solely because he's in the NFL.

They want to show young quarterbacks how important it is to play other sports.

Ex-Dallas Cowboys head coach and new New York Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett once recounted that Steve Spurrier wanted quarterbacks to be shortstops.

Quarterbacks of this era are technically superior because they spend so much time practicing and running drills. They are vastly inferior when the play breaks down and the game goes off script, because so many of them now play football year round as opposed to baseball, basketball, or something else in the offseason.

That's why Spurrier, Garrett, and so many others, want quarterbacks who have experience making throws, and plays, when it all goes to hell.

It's one thing to drop back and throw a pretty pass in 7-on-7. Now do it when your first two receivers run the wrong routes, the left tackle didn't do his job, and two defenders are two steps away from sending you to Venus.

There is no quarterback who thrives in those spots better than Mahomes.

"He played all three sports, and you can see the influence of the sports that molded him into the player he is," Cook said. "The no-look passes you see? That's basketball. The elements of throwing it from awkward positions, that's from him throwing the ball across the diamond.

"Now, we have to look at God blessed him with abilities and he does things that are hard to mimic, but his experiences in the other sports helped him."

Patrick Mahomes was but a three-star kid who is now on the verge of owning all of football, in part because he played basketball and baseball, too.

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