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Recruiting: WSU adds East Carolina grad transfer Gardner Minshew to 2018 class


NCAA Football: East Carolina at Houston
East Carolina’s Gardner Minshew has announced he’s transferring to WSU.
Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Known to have been shopping for some time for a quarterback with experience, the Washington State Cougars appear to finally have found their man as East Carolina graduate transfer Gardner Minshew announced his intention to attend WSU, via Twitter.

He will enroll this summer and is eligible to play immediately.

“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,” Minshew said to Bruce Feldman at Sports Illustrated. “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 “coach” thing is in reference to where Minshew was thought to be heading: He had been committed to the Alabama Crimson Tide since the end of February, something that was seen as a curious decision — he’d almost certainly have been stuck behind Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts. Minshew had said that Alabama was the first team to reach out, and he was excited about the opportunity to learn about the game from Nick Saban and his staff as a jump start to a coaching career.

Enter WSU, where Minshew won’t just have the opportunity to compete for the starting job immediately in a passer’s paradise; the chances he wins the job vacated by the death of presumed starter Tyler Hilinski have to be at least 50-50, given that Minshew’s stiffest competition is thought to be incoming freshman Cammon Cooper.

Yes, we flipped a recruit from Alabama.

Minshew has taken a fairly circuitous route to Pullman, having originally signed with the Troy Trojans out of Brandon, Mississippi, in 2015. He never ended up there, though, landing instead at Northwest Mississippi Community College as a full qualifier and leading the school to a junior college national championship. He then transferred to ECU, where he started a pair of games at the end of 2016 as a sophomore and entered 2017 as the starter.

It did not go well ... at first. Minshew was just 7-of-18 for 82 yards and an interception in the first half of ECU’s season opener against FCS James Madison, after which he was benched and the Pirates went on to lose. He bounced in and out of the starting lineup over the next seven games, but Minshew finished the year as the starter — and finished fairly strong.

His most noteworthy accomplishment: A 52-for-68 performance against Houston, in which he threw for 463 yards and three touchdowns. It was a conference and school record for completions in a single game. He also went for 444 yards on 31-of-45 against Cincinnati a couple of weeks later.

For the season, he completed 174-of-304 passes for 2,140 yards, 16 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.

Of course, the million dollar question is how quickly he can adapt to the Air Raid, a system that’s pretty famous for being difficult to master quickly. Since he’s not currently a student at WSU, Minshew can’t take part in spring practices. He did say, though, that he’s spending time with Hal Mumme — who is the new offensive coordinator at Jackson State, which is just 20 minutes from his home — in order to learn as much as he can.

Lucky for him, he’s probably primarily competing against another first-year QB, although Cooper did run and Air Raid-type offense in high school.

At 6-foot-2 and 216 pounds, one of Minshew’s top attributes appears to be his ability to maneuver in the pocket and scramble, something that was necessary behind a suspect line at ECU. That’s a skill that could come in fairly handy behind what will be a rebuilt offensive line at WSU that will be directed by a new position coach this fall.

Oh, and Minshew does have a redshirt year available, for whatever that’s worth.

WSU Football 2018 Recruiting Class

Letter Received? Player Expected Pos. 247 Composite Composite Value Measurables (via 247) Commit Date City State CougCenter Profile Comments
Letter Received? Player Expected Pos. 247 Composite Composite Value Measurables (via 247) Commit Date City State CougCenter Profile Comments
YES Rodrick Fisher WR ✯✯✯✯ 0.8947 6-2/193 5/10/17 Spokane WA Link Led state in 100-m (10.46) and 200-m (21.26) in 2017
YES Cammon Cooper QB ✯✯✯✯ 0.8917 6-4/202 5/29/17 Lehi UT Link First Elite 11 QB in more than a decade
YES Drue Jackson WR ✯✯✯ 0.8763 6-1/186 10/27/17 Sachse TX Link Rated 4-star by Scout, Rivals
YES Max Borghi RB ✯✯✯ 0.8731 5-10/195 6/29/17 Arvada CO Link Multipurpose back flipped from Colorado
YES Halid Djibril S ✯✯✯ 0.8672 6-2/185 12/20/17 Los Angeles CA Link Picked WSU over USC and OSU.
YES D'Angelo McKenzie DB ✯✯✯ 0.8614 6-0/180 10/24/17 San Jose CA Link Holds offers from Notre Dame, UCLA
YES Kassidy Woods WR ✯✯✯ 0.8609 6-2/200 11/22/17 Addison TX Link No. 136 receiver nationally
YES Blake McDonald OL ✯✯✯ 0.8601 6-4.5/295 2/3/18 Danville CA Link No. 31 OG in country via 247, orig UCLA commit
YES Cade Beresford OL ✯✯✯ 0.8601 6-7/250 9/25/17 Woodinville WA Link Offers from UCLA, Nebraska
YES Brandon Gray WR ✯✯✯ 0.8600 6-5/172 7/29/17 Detroit MI Link No. 3 receiver in Michigan
YES Brennan Jackson DL ✯✯✯ 0.8519 6-4/225 7/13/17 Temecula CA Link Rated the No. 3 DE prospect in CA by Scout
YES RJ Stone DL ✯✯✯ 0.8685 6-4/215 12/11/17 San Jose CA Link Picked WSU over Arizona State
YES Tyrese Ross DB ✯✯✯ 0.8464 6-1/187 2/2/18 Jacksonville FL Link Flipped from Mississippi State
YES Kedron Williams DB ✯✯✯ 0.8497 6-1/192 5/3/17 Bellflower CA Link Recruited by Roy Manning
YES Ahmir Crowder DL ✯✯✯ 0.8485 6/3-280 10/16/17 Los Angeles CA Link Offers from Vandy and Purdue
YES Patrick Nunn ATH ✯✯✯ 0.8477 6-3/206 8/20/17 San Mateo CA Link Could play WR or DB
NO Rocky Katoanga LB ✯✯✯ 0.8366 6-2/205 2/6/18 Oceanside CA Will grayshirt
YES Myles Green-Richards DB ✯✯✯ 0.8364 6-1/175 7/6/17 Eugene OR Link Clocked a 4.52 laser-timed 40
YES Jonathan Lolohea DL ✯✯✯ 0.8461 6-3/310 11/22/17 Lahaina HI Link Juco from Copiah-Lincoln CC in Mississippi
YES Kendrick Catis LB ✯✯✯ 0.8394 6-1/228 12/20/17 Deerfield Beach FL Link No. 4 inisde linebacker in JUCO.
YES Syr Riley OL ✯✯✯ 0.8315 6-3/323 10/2/17 Palisades CA Link Offers from Cal and Navy
YES Calvin Jackson Jr. WR ✯✯✯ 0.8208 5-10/170 4/12/17 Pompano Beach FL Link Juco transfer
YES Jarrett Kingston DL ✯✯✯ 0.8181 6-5/250 8/9/17 Anderson CA Link First team All CIF Northern Section as a DE
NO Gatlin Grisso DB ✯✯✯ 0.8072 6-1/185 6/23/17 Aubrey TX Link Expected to grayshirt
YES Keenan Forbes OL ✯✯✯ 0.8345 6-3/310 1/18/18 Hollywood FL Link Three to play three; rating is from H.S. eval
YES Misi Aiolupotea-Pei DL ✯✯✯ 0.8000 6-3/250 2/4/18 Riverside CA Link Juco has only played football for 2 years
YES Gardner Minshew QB N/A N/A 6-2/216 3/20/18 Brandon MS Link Graduate transfer from East Carolina
YES Lamonte McDougle DL N/A N/A 5-11/295 5/16/18 Deerfield Beach FL Link Transfer from WVU will be eligible in 2019
YES Chad Davis Jr. DB N/A N/A 6-2/200 5/18/18 Daytona Beach FL Juco transfer