PULLMAN – Washington State standout quarterback Gardner Minshew is in the mix for another national award.
Minshew’s name was added Wednesday to the 2018 Walter Camp Award’s “Players to Watch” list – essentially a semifinalist list for the award given to the nation’s top college football player.
Minshew is the only Pac-12 player on the watch list, comprised of 15 names, but he’s the second Washington State player in two years to earn the distinction. Defensive tackle Hercules Mata’afa was named a finalist for the award last season.
All 130 Football Subdivision coaches and sports information directors vote on the Walter Camp Player of the Year, the fourth-oldest award in the country. Five finalists will be announced on Nov. 28 and the winner of the award will be broadcast live on ESPN SportsCenter on Dec. 7.
In addition to the Walter Camp list, Minshew is also a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award (nation’s best college quarterback), a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award (college player of the year), was named to the top 15 for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award (top senior or fourth-year junior) and to the Midseason National Performer of the Year Trophy Watch List by the College Football Performance Awards.
WSU coach Mike Leach thinks his first-year starter has done a fine job handling the accolades and media attention that have consumed his first and only season on the Palouse.
“I think he’s a mature guy, he’s been at this for a while,” Leach said. “I think that helps, but then the other thing is he doesn’t have any secrets or agendas or anything like that, so it’s pretty easy for him to answer questions, because he’s going to say what he planned to say anyway.”
The No. 8 Cougars have flourished this season with Minshew, the fifth-year graduate transfer from East Carolina, running Leach’s Air Raid offense. Leach phoned Minshew in the spring, asking the Mississippi native, who was then committed to Alabama, if he wanted to come to Pullman and “lead the country in passing yards.”
Minshew, with 3,852 yards, is not only doing that through 10 games, but he has a 508-yard cushion on the nation’s second-leading passer, Jordan Ta’amu of Ole Miss. The WSU quarterback’s 385.2 yards per game lead the nation, as do his 393.8 offensive yards per game.
His Pac-12-leading 29 passing TDs rank sixth in the country. He’s the only quarterback in college football with five games of 400-plus passing yards. Minshew has only been sacked seven times this season, and he’s rushed for three TDs.
The other 14 players named Walter Camp semifinalists are Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen, Georgia defensive back Deandre Baker, Michigan linebacker Devin Bush, Clemson running back Travis Etienne, West Virginia quarterback Will Grier, Memphis running back Darrell Henderson, Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley, UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor, Notre Dame defensive tackle Jesse Tillery and Alabama nose guard Quinnen Williams.
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