Position battles heat up as football spring game approaches

San+Diego+State+football+sophomore+quarterback+Jalen+Mayden+stands+next+to+senior+quarterbacks+Lucas+Johnson+and+Jordon+Brookshire+during+a+spring+practice+in+early+April+2021.

Courtesy of SDSU Athletics

San Diego State football sophomore quarterback Jalen Mayden stands next to senior quarterbacks Lucas Johnson and Jordon Brookshire during a spring practice in early April 2021.

by Luis Lopez, Assistant Sports Editor

Ahead of the program’s Spring game on Friday, San Diego State football head coach Brady Hoke is beginning to identify the talent levels of some of his skill position players.

At what is without a doubt the most important position for the Aztecs going forward, Hoke said he has enjoyed watching his three quarterbacks on the roster all compete for the starting job. 

The gunslingers that have the edge, according to Hoke, are seniors Lucas Johnson and Jordon Brookshire, as opposed to sophomore transfer Jalen Mayden. 

“We’ve got great competitions at the position. Obviously Lucas (Johnson) and Jordon (Brookshire) are a little bit ahead of Jalen (Mayden) just because of being here for the fall season,” Hoke said. “They’re a little bit ahead, but they all have qualities that you like.”

Mayden enters as an intriguing option for the Aztecs. He hasn’t played since his 2018 season with Mississippi State, in which he appeared in three games and only attempted two passes. 

However, as Mayden continues to learn the offense, his candidacy for the starting position could grow. 

As for who that starting quarterback will be throwing to, Hoke said he has been happy with the development of all his wide receivers. 

One, however, has really begun to separate himself from the others: senior Elijah Kothe.

“Elijah Kothe is a guy who really can run, he’s a lot faster than I ever thought he was,” Hoke said. “He’s got the ability to get behind a guy. Once he gets off the line of scrimmage, he’s tough to deal with.”

Kothe could perhaps be in for a breakout year. In 2020, Kothe averaged 15.9 yards a catch and caught his first career touchdown reception in the season finale against Brigham Young.

Kothe will get the chance to further impress Hoke with the spring game on Friday.

The Scarlet and Black will be split up into “Team Aztec” and “Team Warrior,” and won’t just be playing for bragging rights, according to Hoke.

“We’re playing for steaks and hot dogs,” Hoke said of the spring game. “The steaks will have all the trimmings that you would think, nice silverware and all that. If you are a hot dog you (get) paper plates and plastic spoons. It’s something to play for and we’ll have that banquet on Monday.”

Following that unique team dinner, the team will then get a pause from football activities to focus on final exams, with the team coming back on June 1 to begin their summer program.

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