Minshew’s story is one of perseverance and a unfailing belief in himself, even when many doubted him. First, you need to understand that Minshew is the leader of the nation at Washington State with 215 of 313 completions for 2,422 yards. Minshew has thrown 19 touchdowns and only four interceptions. This is quite impressive for someone who, after breaking passing records in Brandon’s three-and-a-half seasons, was not offered a scholarship by Mississippi schools. Gardner, is that really a scholarship offered by Mississippi? Minshew replies, “Heck no.” “All three times. “All three times. Minshew replies, “Yes, out high school, then out junior college, and then as a graduate transfer.” You’re out. Only Gardner Minshew, Washington State’s only star quarterback, is in the spotlight. Minshew was a quarterback at Brandon in 2014. He threw for 3,541 yards and 31 touchdowns leading the Bulldogs’ South 6A title win. He was an honor student and graduated in December. He signed to Troy on an academic scholarship, not a football scholarship. Minshew was not a good fit so he transferred to Northwest Community College, where he led his team in a national championship win as a freshman. After throwing for over a million yards, he was denied offers from Mississippi schools so he decided to go to East Carolina for his next chapter in college football. He was a part-time starter for two seasons at East Carolina and threw for 24 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. He also graduated with a communications degree. He decided to investigate his options, as the NCAA’s new rule regarding early graduates allowed him to transfer to another school with no waiting period. Alabama offered him a place last January. He signed up to be a graduate assistant coach for Nick Saban and to have the chance to play for Alabama. Minshew plans to become a college coach one day. Minshew says, “I believe they thought (Jalen] Hurts might transfer” and that they were looking to hire a backup for Tua Tagovailo. Minshew said, “I plan on coaching and the opportunity to get a foot into the door there at Alabama was really pleasant.” Minshew then received a call from Mike Leach, Washington State’s recruiting director. He asked Minshew, “Gardner. How would you like to go out to Washington State to lead the nation in passing?” Minshew agreed that it would be a great idea. Minshew states, “My heart was still set to play.” “The opportunity to play in Mike Leach’s system was too great to pass up. It’s a quarterbacks dream. But Minshew had missed Washington State’s spring practice by the time he signed. Minshew spent the spring at Jackson State, where Hal Mumme (Leach’s co-inventor and offensive coordinator of the Air Raid offense), was the coordinator. Minshew said that Coach Mumme and Coach Tony Hughes were “super-gracious.” He also stated that Minshew won the job quickly in fall practices and “I haven’t looked back.” The 25 Cougars are now 5-1, having lost to Southern Cal 39-36. Minshew leads the nation in passing. Leach has kept his promise. Leach states that Gardner is “one of the smartest quarterbacks I’ve ever had.” He has an incredible ability to throw and has a natural intelligence. He is a confident man and a great decision-maker. He is a great quarterback because he can see the big picture and cut through the clutter. It is much easier to play this position if you can do that. It helps if your leader is a good one, and he is definitely that.” Minshew enjoys playing for Leach because, he said, “Lets get you where you are.” He will tell you to fix something if he doesn’t. Minshew is 6’2″ and 215 lbs. He has an authenticity about his character. He says, “I love it.” It’s all brand new. Minshew’s family is under more strain. “I’ve been to California and Wyoming,” he said. Flint is his father. He has never missed a single game and makes cross-country flights. Kim, his mother, has stayed at home as Callie Minshew is Callie Minshew’s younger sister and the Mississippi Gatorade volleyball player-of-the-year at Brandon. This is an athletic family. Flint Minshew, a Millsaps football star and a member the school’s athletic hall-of-fame, was Flint Minshew. Kim was a Mississippi State basketball player. Meredith, the middle daughter, is an award-winning ballet dancer. Gardner Minshew is an athlete that many people don’t recognize. Leach says, “He is not a fast runner. I’m guessing he is between 4.8 and 4.9 in the 40. However, he is quick feet and has been a productive run for us.” Gardner was not a highly-respected player in the past because of his lack of speed. Many college teams, particularly in the Deep South are searching for dual-threat quarterbacks. Mike Leach will gladly settle for Gardner Flint Minshew, II who has a quick mind and accurate arm to make up for his lack of foot speed. This, and perseverance.