Mike Leach Shares Gardner Minshew Recruiting Pitch

Minshew, a graduate transfer, had committed to Alabama. Then he got a call from Mike Leach

October 19, 2018 - 8:17 am

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When Gardner Minshew announced he was leaving East Carolina as a graduate transfer, Washington State head coach Mike Leach was interested. There was just one problem: Minshew committed to Alabama.

That’s when Leach put on his recruiting hat and offered Minshew a simple pitch.

“We were looking for a quarterback – one that could play,” Leach said on Ferrall on the Bench. “We figured, ‘What the heck? One more call.’ (We called and said), ‘Hey, do you want to sit on the bench at Alabama or lead the nation in passing here?’”

Minshew decided he wanted to lead the nation in passing – and he does, with 2,422 yards and 19 touchdowns on the season.

“The ball comes off his hand quick,” Leach said. “He was a decisive guy. He was not a full-time starter down there, but we liked him. We’re kind of curious why he wasn’t. He liked our offense because he played one that had some similarities in Mississippi. He didn’t have spring football or nothing, got here in May, and integrated himself with the team in a fabulous fashion. If you knew his personality, you’d see it. He’s a wild-eyed Southern boy. He would just lift harder than most of the other people, fire it up all the time and it would of elevate and electrify the room. He just had a real good presence about him.”

Minshew has led No. 25 Washington State to a 5-1 record. He threw the game-winning 89-yard touchdown pass to Easop Winston to lead the Cougars to a 28-24 win over Utah on Sept. 29. 

“Honestly, he’s one of the smartest quarterbacks I’ve ever had,” Leach said. “I haven’t had one that I would consider dumb, but he's extremely smart. I honestly think he’s got better games ahead of him.”

Washington State hosts No. 12 Oregon (5-1) on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET. It marks College GameDay’s first appearance in Pullman.