After originally intending to play for the Crimson Tide, Gardner​ Minshew pivoted to Washington State as his destination next season.

By Bruce Feldman
March 20, 2018

Former East Carolina starting quarterback Gardner Minshew, who committed to Alabama last month, has decided not to go to the SEC powerhouse. Instead, Minshew is transferring to Washington State, where he is expected to compete for the Cougars’ vacant starting quarterback spot.

“This is an opportunity to compete for a (starting) job on a very good team with a staff that I’ve always looked up to and respected,” he told SI Tuesday. "I’ve got goals as an (aspiring) coach but also as a player, and my goal right now is to get a shot in the NFL. And I think this will give me a good opportunity at that.”

The 6-1, 220-pound grad transfer, eligible immediately, threw for 2,140 yards and had a 16-7 touchdown-to-interception ratio last year for the Pirates. Minshew said he will visit Washington State April 6 and will move up there May 7. He has been working to get up to speed on the Air Raid offense and has spent a few days around Mike Leach’s mentor, Hal Mumme, the new offensive coordinator at Jackson State, which is 20 minutes from Minshew’s home in Mississippi. The quarterback said he hopes to have about three-fourths of the offense learned by the time he moves up to Pullman.

At Washington State, Minshew will compete with juniors Trey Tinsley and Anthony Gordon and hotshot freshman Cammon Cooper among others to replace Luke Falk. The Cougars projected starter Tyler Hilinski passed away in January.

Minshew graduated from ECU in December with a degree in communications and sent out his release to several schools throughout the South. Alabama was the first to respond, as newly promoted offensive coordinator Mike Locksley reached out to convey the Tide’s interest. Minshew said a big part of the Tide’s pitch to him was the benefits the program could offer him as an aspiring coach. He knew he’d be a long shot to overtake strong-armed Tua Tagovailoa, the offensive MVP of the national title game, and Jalen Hurts, the SEC’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2016.

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