The Texas State Bobcats picked up a recruiting win on Friday as quarterback TJ Finley announced his commitment to play in San Marcos in 2023.
Finley was listed at 6’7” and 250 pounds last season at Auburn. Finley transferred to Auburn in 2021 after spending his freshman season at LSU in 2020. He totaled 183 completions on 321 attempts in 18 total appearances through his first three seasons of college football.
Finley was a three-star prospect coming out Louisiana’s Ponchatoula High School.
Finley does have good in-game experience, but injuries and position battles have kept him from showing if he can lead an offense for a full year. 2021 was his best year with 70 completions on 128 attempts for 827 yards, six touchdowns, and one interception. An ankle injury against Alabama ended his regular season in late November, but Finley returned for Auburn’s loss to Houston in the Birmingham bowl.
In 2022, Finley was named Auburn’s starter following fall camp, but ultimately split snaps with Auburn’s other quarterback Robby Ashford. Finley suffered a fairly serious shoulder injury (Grade 2 AC joint, later revealed by Bryan Harsin) in September that knocked him out of the starting lineup.
Finley’s athleticism is a huge plus and if Texas State’s offensive play style resembles what head coach G.J. Kinne did at Incarnate Word, he’ll find ways to look like his old self. There’s two questions his commitment raises for the Bobcats, however.
For starters, what does this mean for the other former-P5 quarterbacks on Texas State’s roster? Layne Hatcher was the Bobcats’ leading, and only, passer last year and has since transferred to Ball State. Redshirt junior Ty Evans (NC State transfer) and redshirt sophomore CJ Rogers (Baylor transfer) are still on the roster and the Bobcats also picked up Malik Hornsby in January, who backed up KJ Jefferson at Arkansas in 2022. It seems doubtful Kinne will name a starter prior to the end of fall camp, but Finley seems like a safe bet.
The second question this raises is “what about the offensive line?” With little to no depth in that room, bringing in a quarterback with multiple prior injuries raises a mild concern. The recent interior OL additions of Marcus Alexander from Oklahoma and Chayse Todd from Houston should help in that regard.