From Washington State to Eagles QB: Following the journey of Gardner Minshew II

The 2019 sixth-round draft pick by the Jaguars became a household name after taking over the starting role from Nick Foles.

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Monday, December 6, 2021
Minshew Mania: QB Gardner Minshew wins big in Eagles debut
In his first start as an Eagle, Minshew went 20-of-25 for 242 yards and two touchdowns as Philadelphia beat the New York Jets 33-18.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It has been quite an NFL journey for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Gardner Minshew II, who added one more chapter to his already fun career book on Sunday.

Minshew makes some magic: Quarterback controversy for the Birds?

The 2019 sixth-round draft pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars out of Washington State became a household name during the 2019 season when he took over the starting role due to an injury to Nick Foles. The former Super Bowl-winning Eagles QB was sidelined with a broken collarbone in the first quarter of his Jacksonville debut on Sept. 8 of that year.

Minshew led Jacksonville to a 6-6 record and had an impressive rookie season by the time it concluded.

During Minshew's time as starting quarterback for the Jaguars, his swag, mullet and "jorts" were an instant hit among fans.

In the 2020 season, Minshew remained the Jaguars' starter until a Week 7 injury sidelined him for seven weeks.

He returned to the field in Week 14 -- throwing for 178 yards and a touchdown -- after Mike Glennon was benched in a 31-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

In Week 15, Minshew reprised his starting role again before losing the job to Glennon the following week. Then, in August, Minshew's journey started a new chapter when he was traded to the Eagles.

His latest time to shine came Sunday when Jalen Hurts was sidelined with an injury.

In his first start as an Eagle, the 25-year-old Minshew went 20-of-25 for 242 yards and two touchdowns as Philadelphia beat the New York Jets 33-18. His 133.7 passer rating was the highest for an Eagles starter since Foles (141.4) in the 2017 NFC Championship Game.

Eagles coach Nick Sirianni did say after the game that Hurts will remain the starting quarterback.


Minshew Mania is new in Philly, as it was in Jacksonville.

People in the Eastern time zone had rarely, or never, seen Minshew play at WSU.

Because of that, one of the most prolific college passers in 2018 was somewhat anonymous on the East Coast.

Nobody in Pullman, Washington knew much about Minshew when he first got to college, either. Then he threw for 319 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-19 victory at Wyoming in the 2018 season opener. Then 414 yards and three touchdowns in Washington State's 31-0 home victory over San Jose State. The following week, he threw for 470 yards and two touchdowns in a 59-24 home victory over Eastern Washington.

By then, the Pacific Northwest was scrambling to find out as much as it could about the kid from Brandon, Mississippi, who showed up in June after a phone call from Cougars coach Mike Leach, asking him if he wanted to come to Pullman and lead the nation in passing instead of transferring to Alabama to be a backup quarterback.

"No one really knew who he was or what he was about," said Dylan Greene, who was the editor in chief of the Daily Evergreen, WSU's student newspaper, at the time. "It wasn't until that first game that people understood what he was capable of. People start to look him up and see pictures of him and they saw the mustache and they were mesmerized by it."

By the time the regular season ended and Minshew had led the Cougars to an 11-2 record, he was the biggest thing in Pullman since Klay Thompson. But so, so much bigger.

"He is like a Pullman icon," Greene said. "If he came back, they'd probably have a parade through downtown Pullman, throw mustaches everywhere, be chanting 'Mississippi Mustache.'"

Minshew Mania Fun Facts

Minshew was anonymous when he arrived in Jacksonville. But not for long.

People found the photos of Minshew on social media arriving for the Cougars' flight to San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl wearing a red leisure suit with the shirt open to his navel. The multiple shots of him in cutoff jean shorts. The aviator sunglasses.

Then they found the anecdotes:

- Working out in the locker room with resistance bands wearing only his aviators and a jockstrap -- and sometimes just the aviators. Steve Spurrier, whose son is the receivers coach at WSU, wanted to speak to Minshew after a game. He walked in, saw Minshew working out, and then told his son to tell Minshew: "Good game."

- Doing a naked cannonball into a swimming pool during camp at WSU.

- Buying a bed for $10 on Facebook Marketplace, according to The Athletic

- Carrying a full-size bottle of vanilla Crown Royal around in the waistband of his jeans on a night around Pullman, according to The Athletic.

- His grandfather wanting to name him Beowulf.

And, just to clear up an erroneous story floating around: Minshew shares the same name as his father, Gardner Flint Minshew. Minshew's father, who goes by Flint, explains that he and his wife named their son Gardner Flint Minshew II and not Gardner Flint Minshew Jr. because in Mississippi, "If you're junior, you're probably going to get called Bubba. So my wife's like, 'No way he's going to be called Bubba.' Nothing against all the Bubbas out there. It wasn't what my wife wanted."

Minshew posted on Instagram after the Eagles win a photo of him celebrating with the caption: "Man that was fun!"

Meanwhile on Twitter, his bio still says "QB for the Jacksonville Jaguars." (But in his defense, he hasn't tweeted since being traded to the Eagles.)


ESPN's Michael DiRocco, Tony Barron and Kelly Cohen contributed to this report