Gardner Minshew was far from a lock to make the NFL. Now that he’s made it, he’s showing off his swagger and his talents as a quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars. While some people may be shocked that the sixth-round draft pick out of Washington State is leading the Jaguars, one person is not. That person in Nichole Robinson, Minshew’s high school English teacher.
Gardner Minshew overcoming the odds
Outside of Tom Brady, there aren’t a whole lot of sixth-rounders who go on to find success as a starting quarterback in the NFL. Minshew couldn’t even find a big-time college to play for after graduating from high school. He began his college football career at Northwest Mississippi Community College.
In 2016, Minshew transferred to East Carolina, where he started in two of the seven games he played. In 2017, he came on strong at the end of the season and finished with 2,140 passing yards and 16 touchdown passes. He enrolled at Washington State in 2018 as a graduate student and played his final year under head coach Mike Leach.
Minshew thrived in Leach’s wide-open offensive attack. After going 3-14 in his 17 starts at East Carolina, Minshew went 11-2 at Washington State and threw for 4,776 yards and 38 touchdowns in his one year with the Cougars. Minshew finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting and was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL draft.
Minshew pressed into action during his rookie season
The Jacksonville Jaguars went into the 2019 season with Nick Foles as their starting quarterback. Minshew was forced into action when Foles went down with an injury in the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs. He showed the poise of a veteran by completing 22 of his 25 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns in a loss.
Minshew made 12 starts that season, going 6-6. He finished the season with 3,271 passing yards. He tossed 21 touchdown passes and had just six interceptions. Minshew completed better than 60% of his passes and came into the 2020 season as the starting quarterback.
In two games this season, Minshew has been extremely impressive. In a season-opening win over the Indianapolis Colts, he completed 19 of 20 passes and tossed three touchdowns. The following week, the Jaguars put up 30 points in a 33-30 loss to the Tennessee Titans. Against the Titans, Minshew was 30-for-45 passing, throwing for 339 yards and three touchdowns.
Minshew’s English teacher knew he would be a leader
Gardner Minshew has solidified himself as a legitimate starting quarterback in the NFL. He’s also got the personality that could make him become one of the most likable players in the league. His teammate Josh Allen has already called him a superstar.
While some may think calling Minshew a star at this point in his career is premature, his high school English teacher at Brandon High School in Brandon, Mississippi isn’t surprised he’s become a leader. Nichole Robinson, who is now a vice principal at the school, according to The Florida Times-Union, said she knew back then he would become something special.
“We already know what the rest of the world is finding out,” said Robinson. “He’s fun and has an ability to rally people around him, have a good time and see the light-hearted things in life. He’s got a gift.”