For a long time, the Kansas City Chiefs struggled to find a franchise quarterback. While Trent Green and Alex Smith did well, players like Tyler Thigpen, Brodie Croyle, and Todd Blackledge didn’t leave a lasting impact. But on April 27, 2017, everything changed with the arrival of Patrick Mahomes.
However, Patrick Mahomes didn’t just appear on the NFL draft stage. He had his own journey to the pros. Let’s take a closer look at his path, from growing up to becoming the star football fans either love or hate today.
Patrick Mahomes’ upbringing in Tyler, Texas, and his time at Whitehouse High School
Long-time Chiefs fans know that the franchise started as the Dallas Texans in the AFL. The team’s savior, however, honed his skills in the Lone Star State.
Patrick Mahomes was born in Tyler, Texas, a city in northeastern part of the state, on September 17, 1995. He attended nearby Whitehouse High School, where he played football, baseball, and basketball. Given his father’s background as a professional athlete—Pat Mahomes was a relief pitcher in both the United States and Japan—it’s no surprise that he excelled in multiple sports.
But it was on the gridiron that Mahomes truly stood out. He became the starting quarterback for Whitehouse High as a junior and threw for an impressive 3,839 yards and 46 touchdowns.
However, despite his talents, Mahomes didn’t receive overwhelming interest from college recruiters. Only three schools—Texas Tech, Rice, and Houston—made official offers. It’s unclear whether other programs doubted Mahomes’ skills or were deterred by the possibility of him pursuing a career in professional baseball. But that is no longer relevant.
Patrick Mahomes had options, and he made his decision.
Mahomes found the perfect fit at Texas Tech
What brought Patrick Mahomes to Texas Tech? It was a combination of interest and opportunity.
From the coaching side, Mahomes was the ideal quarterback that Kliff Kingsbury wanted. Tre Haverty, a Texas Tech coach and Mahomes’ area recruiter, said, “Kliff, after coaching Johnny [Manziel], wanted a mobile quarterback, and Mahomes is obviously that,” according to Mike Piellucci’s 2018 Bleacher Report piece.
From Mahomes’ perspective, Texas Tech offered an exciting opportunity. He not only had the chance to play big-time college baseball, but he could also make an impact on the football field.
“I just remember seeing Patrick with his eyes wide open and excited about how much they threw the ball at Tech because we did the exact same thing in high school,” recalled Coleman Patterson, a childhood friend and college teammate of Mahomes. “Texas Tech was kind of a no-brainer for him.”
In hindsight, it was also a no-brainer for the Texas Tech football program.
Patrick Mahomes’ stats at Texas Tech
Although Mahomes didn’t start as the quarterback immediately, he saw sporadic action as a freshman when Davis Webb was injured. He also played baseball as a relief pitcher.
In his second season, Mahomes became the starting quarterback while still playing baseball. With more opportunities and experience, his numbers naturally improved, and he started to make a name for himself. But his best was yet to come.
As a junior, Mahomes made the commitment to focus solely on football. The results were even better. Despite starting one fewer game than the previous season, he threw for approximately 400 more yards, five more touchdowns, and five fewer interceptions. His outstanding performance earned him the Sammy Baugh Trophy as the nation’s top passer.
Andy Reid, Brett Veach, and the Kansas City Chiefs saw the potential in Mahomes and knew they had found their man.
The rest is NFL history
Going back to where this article began, the Kansas City Chiefs selected Patrick Mahomes as the tenth pick of the 2017 NFL draft. While it was seen as a gamble at the time, it has more than paid off.
Although Alex Smith retained the starting job for another season, once Mahomes took over, the Chiefs never looked back. Touchdowns and passing yards piled up, and after a 50-year Super Bowl drought, two Lombardi Trophies returned to Arrowhead. Now, no deficit seems insurmountable, and every game is within reach.
And the best (or worst, depending on your perspective) news is that the star quarterback is here to stay.