UPDATED: Jayden de Laura In, TJ Finley Out. What exactly happened with Texas State's QBs?

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Update 1/19: Texas State head coach GJ Kinne released a statement to the University Star in regards to quarterback Jayden de Laura's civil case settlement from a 2018 incident when he was a minor in Hawaii where it is alleged that he sexually assaulted a woman along with current Wisconsin safety Kamo'i Latu.

Texas State raised some eyebrows this past week.

Former Arizona and Washington State quarterback Jayden de Laura committed to Texas State Monday afternoon. The now two-time transfer has a year of eligibility left and is immediately available to play once he signs after an NCAA memo in December, in wake of a lawsuit, granted multi-time transfers immediate eligibility.

The only problem was that when he committed, Texas State already had its 2024 starter in place in TJ Finley.

Finley was coming off his best collegiate season with arguably the best season a Texas State quarterback had experienced since Barrick Nealy in 2004. He threw for 3,439 yards and 24 touchdowns with only eight interceptions. A day later, reports leaked that Finley was entering the transfer portal, less than a week after he announced his return for the 2024 season.

So, what happened?

Multiple accounts suggest that it started after Texas State’s first-ever bowl win vs. Rice on December 26. The Bobcats’ entire team withheld any transfer announcements or draft declarations until after the game. Finley, running back Ismail Mahdi and receiver Ashtyn Hawkins were three of the most prominent players whose futures were up in the air after the season. Hawkins quickly entered into the portal the next day, eventually committing to Baylor, while Mahdi revealed his intentions to stay on January 1.

Although it was expected that Finley would return, it wasn’t seen as a guarantee. Texas State’s staff started to preliminarily plan for the possibility of adding a veteran arm via the portal.

After Mahdi’s announcement, Finley teased his pending announcement on Instagram but nothing official. Multiple sources confirmed that that’s when speculation grew that Finley could take his talents elsewhere, he’d received Power Five offers last season before committing to Texas State and after a year of his best production now on tape, that was on the table again and this time possibly more viable. He and his fiancé had had twins during the 2023 season and Texas State wouldn’t have been able to muster the NIL financial incentive to fend off outside offers. That’s when the recruiting of transfer portal options ramped up.

But then on January 11, Finley announced his intentions to stay on social media.

This apparently was a bit of a surprise but one that the staff knew was a possibility. By that time, Texas State was close to the finish line with de Laura’s recruitment and couldn’t back away.

De Laura committed to Texas State on January 15 with the staff fully aware that that news would likely lead to Finley’s departure. De Laura has one year of eligibility left so wherever he landed, he’d presumably be given an inside track to start after being the incumbent starter at Arizona before injury. Finley announced his intentions to transfer on January 16.

Keff Ciardello confirmed that Finley was not made aware of de Laura’s recruitment prior to his commitment. His NIL agent, Jeffrey Weiner seemingly confirmed the same on social media.


For what could be seen as a blindsiding could be seen as equally smart and savvyplanning. Texas State head coach GJ Kinne had a call to make and made it.

On paper, de Laura is a more proven quarterback with better seasons under his belt than Finley having thrown for over 8,000 yards in his career. Kinne and offensive coordinator Mack Leftwich have always preferred a more mobile option, which de Laura is. Looking back to their Incarnate Word days, they’ve always embraced the idea of getting a fraction better at quarterback. They had both Lindsey Scott Jr. and former Tarleton quarterback Steven Duncan. Last season they brought in Malik Hornsby and then added Finley. Based on their track record, this is another chapter in-line with that history.

However, Finley had just proven his worth in the same offense that de Laura will be asked to pilot and helped lead Texas State to its best season in 20 years.

Plus, there’s the whole other off-field situation surrounding de Laura as well that the staff will have to answer to. But one thing is clear, Texas State believes in de Laura’s talents to take them to the next level and was willing to risk losing its incumbent starter and a presumed preseason all-conference quarterback to bring him in.

Will it work? Possibly. De Laura has immense talent and Texas State will likely enter as one of the front-runners in the Sun Belt, but it’s undoubtedly the first big gamble of Kinne’s brief, but thus-far successful tenure.

As TJ Finley said on Instagram confirming his transfer, "business is business".


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