How Gardner Minshew, the Jaguars' mustachioed, sixth-round rookie quarterback, became a breakout star and the NFL's most interesting man
Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters
Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters
- Gardner Minshew has become a breakout star in the NFL.
- Minshew had an unusual route to the NFL, which included transferring three times in college and nearly quitting.
- Outside of his on-field performance, he is also beloved for his mustache, sense of humor, and off-field antics.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Gardner Minshew is the breakout star of the NFL season.
The sixth-round rookie has played well for the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he's become a star for his iconic mustache, sense of humor, and antics off the field.
From an unusual route to the NFL, to trying to break his hand in college, to his pregame outfits, here's why Minshew has become a cult hero so early into his career.
Gardner Minshew was thrust into the spotlight when Nick Foles, who the Jaguars signed to an $88 million contract this offseason, broke his collarbone in Week 1. Suddenly, Minshew was the starter.
Minshew didn't shine in the first two weeks of the season, but he had a breakout game in Week 3, as he threw for 204 yards and 2 touchdowns to help the Jags beat the Titans on "Thursday Night Football."
Making Minshew even more of a surprise star, he's had an unlikely, circuitous path to the NFL that saw him nearly give up on playing football.
Minshew began his college career as a walk-on at Troy University but transferred after one year to Northwest Mississippi Community College.
After winning a title at Northwestern Mississippi, Minshew transferred to East Carolina University. Minshew expected to be the third-string quarterback but quickly found himself playing when one quarterback was moved to running back, and the other got injured.
Minshew was faced with a dilemma. He expected to red-shirt for a year but instead was poised to lose a year of eligibility because he played one game. He came up with an idea: break his hand to get a medical red-shirt.
Minshew ended up having a strong 2017 season, throwing for 2,140 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions in 10 games.
After his junior year, Minshew decided to transfer again, but with a different goal in mind: coaching.
However, Washington State head coach Mike Leach instead called Minshew and made him an offer: "Do you want to come lead the country in passing?"
Minshew didn't lead the nation in passing, but he came close, finishing second in yards and fourth in touchdowns. He threw for over 4,700 yards, 38 touchdowns, 9 interceptions, and helped Washington State win the Alamo Bowl.
Minshew entered the NFL draft and got taken with the 178th overall pick by the Jaguars.
While Minshew's journey to the NFL and on-field performances have endeared him to fans, it's his personality and the off-field story that has taken his profile to a new level.
First, there is the mustache. Minshew said the whole Washington State team grew out their mustaches during training camp, but later shaved. He decided to keep his.
His mustache became iconic on campus.
The 'stache has inspired several celebrity comparisons, from Ben Stiller's character in "Dodgeball"...
To Uncle Rico from "Napoleon Dynamite."
In fact, Minshew even got to meet his counterpart.
There is more to the legend of Minshew. His grandfather wanted to name him Beowulf. Minshew's parents rejected the idea.
Minshew's father, Flint, also received attention during Week 3 for looking like he could run on the field and play.
His teammates revealed that Minshew has a thing for naked calisthenics in the locker room.
Minshew apparently wears very little frequently. Early at Washington State, he won teammates over by doing a cannonball into a pool in just a jockstrap.
He also once stuck a bottle of Crown Royal into his cut-off jeans to make teammates laugh.
His travel outfits are a sight to behold.
Minshew is far from a joke, however. In high school, he used to sit in on defensive meetings so he could better understand defensive schemes and how to beat opponents.
When Minshew was in 8th grade, former New York Giants and Alabama head coach Ray Perkins called Minshew "the best junior high quarterback I think I’ve ever seen."
He hired a popular trainer to prepare for the NFL draft and consistently beat everyone else to the practice facility, no matter how early they got there.
Leach said he used to laugh when scouts would ask him questions about Minshew, questioning whether they had actually watched them. Leach compared Minshew to Drew Brees.
It's unclear if Minshew will remain the Jaguars' starting quarterback when Foles is healthy. But in the meantime, it doesn't seem as if Minshew Mania is going anywhere.
Now, check out where Minshew's Jaguars stand in our power rankings...
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