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Sports >  WSU football

Washington State’s Gardner Minshew one of five finalists for prestigious Walter Camp award

Nov. 28, 2018 Updated Wed., Nov. 28, 2018 at 6:32 p.m.

Washington State  quarterback Gardner Minshew  celebrates a touchdown during the second half  Nov. 17 at Martin Stadium in Pullman. WSU won  69-28. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew celebrates a touchdown during the second half Nov. 17 at Martin Stadium in Pullman. WSU won 69-28. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

PULLMAN – Gardner Minshew’s historic season for the Washington State football team continues to receive national recognition.

On Wednesday morning, the fifth-year graduate transfer quarterback was named one of five finalists for the Walter Camp National Player of the Year Award – widely considered the second-most prestigious award in college football, behind the Heisman Trophy.

Three other quarterbacks were named finalists – Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray and West Virginia’s Will Grier – along with linebacker Josh Allen of Kentucky.

The Walter Camp award is voted on by all 130 Football Subdivision coaches and sports information directors throughout the country. The winner will be announced Dec. 6 on ESPN’s SportsCenter segment, and receive the trophy at the Walter Camp Foundation’s 52nd annual national awards banquet on Jan. 12 at Yale University.

Minshew, the nation’s leading passer, has thrown for 4,477 yards this season. His 433 completions and 613 passing attempts are also tops in the nation, while his 36 touchdowns are tied for fourth. Minshew has thrown nine interceptions in 12 games, or one for every 68 pass attempts.

He needs 120 yards in WSU’s bowl game to break the Cougars’ single-season passing mark, held by Connor Halliday (4,597 in 2013) and 238 to break Jared Goff’s Pac-12 record of 4,714, set in 2015 at Cal.

“I can’t say enough about Gardner,” wide receiver Kyle Sweet said last Friday after WSU’s 28-15 loss in the Apple Cup. “He’s a helluva quarterback, but the thing people don’t see is the intangibles. He just rallies us and makes us want to play for him and makes us love the game of football.”

Minshew, a Brandon, Mississippi, native, came to WSU after playing two seasons at East Carolina, where he was a part-time starter in 2017. The former junior college champion at Northwest Mississippi had orally committed to Alabama after deciding to leave ECU, with hopes of becoming a graduate assistant for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide after spending his final year of eligibility.

But Minshew swiftly changed his mind when he received a phone call from WSU coach Mike Leach in the spring and opted to spend his last college season in Pullman. Minshew beat out redshirt juniors Trey Tinsley and Anthony Gordon for the starting job and has since become something a cult hero for the 10-2 Cougars.

“It was tough for him to come in with the unfortunate circumstances that happened earlier this year, but it didn’t seem like it fazed him at all,” Sweet said, referring to the suicide of Tyler Hilinski, who was supposed to be Luke Falk’s successor this season. “He was just there for us whatever we needed and he’s just a great friend and a guy to lean on.”

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