NJCAA All-American QB Minshew signs with East Carolina
By Kevin Maloney
Northwest Mississippi Community College All-American quarterback Gardner Minshew signed a grant-in-aid with East Carolina University on Tuesday afternoon, making him the 14th Ranger to continue his career at the next level from last season’s national championship team.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to go in and play and a great school with a ton of fan support,” Minshew said. “I’m ready to get in there and continue the tradition they already have in place. The meeting with the coaching staff is really what sealed it for me. I have a lot of faith in those guys and where they will take the program.”
Minshew joined the Rangers after a spring stint at Troy University and had a stellar freshman campaign.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Brandon product was named an NJCAA All-American Honorable Mention and First Team All-MACJC selection after throwing for 3,288 yards (third in a single-season at Northwest) and 28 touchdowns and completing 61 percent of his passes (223-of-367). He led the MACJC and was second in the NJCAA in passing yards and attempts, fourth in completions, fifth in touchdown passes and seventh in passing yards/game.
Minshew showed out in the Rangers’ 66-13 drubbing of 2nd-ranked Rochester (Minn.) in the NJCAA national championship game, completing 23-of-30 passes for a career-high 421 yards and five touchdowns en route to Mississippi Bowl Committee Player of the Year honors. All told, Minshew guided the Rangers to an unprecedented six wins over nationally-ranked teams during the year.
The national championship was the Rangers’ third in program history and first since 1992. Northwest also won its ninth conference championship last season, defeating No. 6 Mississippi Gulf Coast 34-24 on Nov. 7, 2015.
Prior to his successful stint with Northwest, Minshew was also a top name in the Mississippi high school ranks at Brandon. As a senior, he helped the Bulldogs to a 12-2 overall record and completed 243 passes for 3,541 yards and 31 touchdowns. He ended his time at Brandon as one of the metro area’s most successful quarterbacks with 11,222 career passing yards and 105 total touchdowns and was named the south’s offensive MVP in the 2014 Bernard Blackwell All-Star Game.
Off the field, Minshew was inducted into the Brandon High School Hall of Fame and graduated with a 4.0 GPA.
Minshew will be the sixth player to join an FBS program from this year’s team when he enrolls at ECU towards the end of May. He will have four years to play three for the Pirates.