Written by: Rajan Nanavati, Editor and Founder of Hail To The District
Whitehouse, Texas isn’t known for very much. Many people in the state of Texas themselves don’t know much about the town if they’ve even heard of it. After all, Whitehouse is essentially a suburb of Tyler, the latter of which happens to be only the 37th-largest city in the state (by population).
But many people — especially football fans inside and outside the state of Texas — are very well aware of one of Whitehouse’s native sons: quarterback Patrick Mahomes II, the dual-sport star at Whitehouse High School, the scintillating quarterback at Texas Tech University, and the starting quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs.
As many people know, Mahomes is the son of former Major League Baseball player Pat Mahomes, a 13-year veteran who pitched for six different teams during his professional baseball career. The elder Mahomes played for the Minnesota Twins from 1992 to 1996 (his first team in the big leagues), where he befriended fellow pitcher LaTroy Hawkins; not coincidentally, Hawkins would go on to become the younger Mahomes’ godfather.
So, it’s no surprise that the young Mahomes spent the majority of his early life surrounded by the game of baseball. Since he was basically old enough to walk, the Mahomes would follow around his father in and out of big league ballparks and earn the notice of many of this father’s teammates. Hawkins would recall his first memories of Mahomes being the fact that the kid loved his French fries with ketchup, to the point where it was probably more like he was eating ketchup with a small side of fries.
When the elder Mahomes was traded to the New York Mets in the late 1990’s, he made sure to bring his five-year-old son along whenever he could. In fact, when the Mets took on the New York Yankees in the World Series, the younger Mahomes was out there shagging balls from guys like two-time All-Star Robin Ventura. Mahomes was only six years old when he first met Alex Rodriguez when Mahomes father was playing for the Texas Rangers. Even at such a young age, Mahomes was immediately taken aback by the work ethic demonstrated by Rodriguez; Mahomes would later comment about the impact that Rodriguez’s constant devotion to his craft would have on Mahomes’ future work ethic.
It should come as no surprise then that Mahomes quickly took to baseball as a kid, and excelled at it. In fact, if you listen to Whitehouse High School baseball coach Derrick Jenkins, he was one step past excelling; Jenkins is quoted as saying that Mahomes was as good an athlete as he’d ever seen in his 38 years of being in the business. Jenkins said that Mahomes, even though he was a gifted pitcher, started at virtually every position on the field (except catcher) at one point for the team. At the plate, his batting average was almost .500, and with his cannon of an arm, he could play centerfield and gun down anyone trying to take home on a sacrifice fly ball.
But the arm strength gene clearly conveyed from the elder Mahomes to the younger; as a senior, Mahomes as already clocking 93 mph on his fastball. By the time he was a senior, given the velocity and command he demonstrated as a pitcher, he instantly became one of the most intriguing prospects for the 2014 MLB Draft. But as we all know, a funny thing happened on the way to Mahomes becoming a professional baseball player.
A three-sport athlete in high school (he played basketball in addition to baseball and football), Mahomes threw for 4,619 passing yards, 50 passing touchdowns, 948 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior on the gridiron, and was eventually named the Maxpreps Male Athlete of the Year for 2013–2014. While baseball remained his true
love, his accolades on the football field caused Texas Tech — the in-state school that was located over 450 miles away — to put the proverbial “full court press” on Mahomes, to make him a Red Raider. Clearly, it worked. While a lot of other schools were deterred by Mahomes’ love of baseball and feared that he wouldn’t fully commit himself to the football program, Mahomes probably didn’t receive as many scholarship offers as you’d expect. But the Red Raiders didn’t see it that way; they saw him for the incredible talent he could bring to their program.
Though he started his career in Lubbock as a backup to quarterback Davis Webb (the latter of whom would end up transferring), Mahomes came on in place of an injured Webb during the season, and never gave the job back. As a freshman, he threw for 16 touchdowns, with only four interceptions. The job became his, and he never gave it back. As a sophomore, Mahomes threw for over 4,600 yards, while adding 36 touchdown passes; in his first two games of the year, he threw for four touchdown passes in each of them.
But it was Mahomes’ junior year when things really started to “blow up” for him. After announcing that he was giving up baseball at Texas Tech (he was a relief pitcher on the baseball team), Mahomes started putting up record
performances. In a game against Oklahoma, Mahomes broke the NCAA FBS records for single-game total offense with 819 yards, which included a staggering 734 yards passing. He finished the year ranked #1 in passing yards, passing yards per game, and total touchdowns (he had 53 that year). He was the recipient of the Sammy Baugh Trophy, given annually to the nation’s top college passer.
Mahomes’ success in college, the athleticism, and talent that was practically dripping off of him thanks to a combination of God-given ability and great genes he inherited, led to him being taken among the top 10 picks in the 2017 NFL Draft; in fact, the Kansas City Chiefs sacrificed a boatload of draft picks for the right to go get him.
One year later, Mahomes is set to become the starting quarterback for one of the most well-known franchises in the NFL. Not bad for a kid who hails from a tiny town in East Texas, with less than 8,000 people.