Savvy, Intangibles, the “it” factor, winner, leader – these are terms used over and over by quarterback guru’s around the country when they describe what they want from their quarterbacks.
Winning quarterbacks come in all forms these days, from the 6-5 pocket passer to the 6-1 option quarterback and everywhere in between. Today’s football game is more complex than ever and styles vary from team to team. But – when you weed through all the fluff, what you want at quarterback is a winner, a leader and someone that makes things happen.
Brandon, MS senior quarterback Gardner Minshew (6-2 and 210 lbs), did just that in his four years as signal caller for the Bulldogs – he made it happen.
Minshew, who was called upon late in his freshman season was asked to step up, make plays and be a leader at a young age and answered the call and has been doing so ever since.
Minshew finished his Brandon career two weeks ago and in his final three years helped lead his team to a stellar 36-7 mark as a starter and while the Bulldogs didn’t win a state championship, what Minshew, along with his fellow seniors accomplished, is phenomenal.
When you sit around talking about Mississippi high school quarterbacks, immediately people start thinking about Tyler Russell of Meridian and Dylan Favre out of St. Stanislaus and rightfully so because both had stellar high school career’s themselves, before moving on to college.
Russell accounted for 6,728 passing-yards and 78-touchdowns, while throwing only 18 interceptions at Meridian.
Favre accounted for 12,486 passing yards and 144 touchdowns before exiting the Gulf Coast area. Both quarterbacks lead the charge in the Magnolia State when talking about high school quarterbacks and there have been some good ones.
From Jason Campbell at Taylorsville to Romaro Miller at Shannon and all the way to Steve McNair at Mount Olive, Mississippi has had some fantastic high school quarterbacks.
That brings us back to Minshew, who accounted for 3,882 yards and 34-touchdowns this year, while throwing only 3-interceptions.
For his career Minshew threw for 11,222-yards and 105-touchdowns which outpaced Russell and was just off Favre’s pace at St. Stanislaus.
To put Minshew’s high school career in perspective, his numbers exceed former Shannon and Ole Miss great Romaro Miller (9,070-passing yards) and former four-star stud Blake Barnes from Baldwyn ( 6,939-career passing yards and 82-touchdowns) who signed with Georgia in 2004, but later transferred.
You can go through the state record books and rarely will you find a quarterback in the Magnolia State that’s been as impressive as Minshew.
These eyes have had the opportunity to see every pass Minshew has made over the last three years and I can tell you, the guy can make any throw on the football field and is arguably the best I’ve ever seen in this state. From the intermediate throw to the long throw, to the check downs and more; Minshew should not ever be doubted about his football ability because he has earned everything he’s done.
Minshew also has it up stairs as well, as he graduates this month, which is a testament to his commitment to the classroom.
I once saw Gardner Minshew take a high snap against Terry that almost got away from him with a rusher that was coming towards him untouched. Most quarterbacks would have tried to handle that play by spinning or running backwards, eventually causing chaos or turning the ball over. Not Minshew – he simply jumped up, fielded the ball, realized what was happening and took a knee with the football, then tossed the ball to the official quickly.
That may not seem like much, but I knew then, this guy gets it. Always the smart play, very rarely the risky player, knowing there’s the next play, the next quarter. As the old country singer Kenny Rogers said, he knows when to hold’em and when to fold’em.
But don’t take my word for it. Mississippi Gridiron’s Chris Brooks calls Minshew “the best quarterback he’s seen in the last five years in this state.”
Former Ole Miss Rebel and now quarterback specialist and founder of nationally known QB Country– David Morris, says Minshew has IT, when talking about quarterbacks.
Still don’t believe me, then watch his senior highlights and you decide for yourself.
Minshew accomplished just about all you can accomplish as a high school quarterback during his career and topped it off with a remarkable senior year at the state’s highest classification, which is why he should be Player of the Year in the State of Mississippi and without question first team on the All-State selections.
Minshew didn’t have just one great year or come out of nowhere; he’s been doing this for a long while now and as I said last summer – I have no doubt he will land on his feet and down the road we will look back and wonder how we let this guy get away.
His career speaks volumes and his character does as well. Minshew has all of “those things” the quarterback guru’s talk about; vision, arm strength, the “IT” factor and he has the numbers to back it up.
Minshew is deserving of all the accolades great quarterbacks get because he’s proven his worth.
Gardner Minshew is one of the best to ever play high school football in the state of Mississippi – never forget that.