East Carolina football coach Scottie Montgomery thought he would have the luxury of patience when it comes to highly-touted quarterback recruit Holton Ahlers.
That may have changed Tuesday, with the announcement that returning quarterback Gardner Minshew has withdrawn from school to “devote his full attention to a family matter in his home state of Mississippi.”
“Our full support is for Gardner and his family during this time,” Montgomery said in a statement “He’s been an asset and leader in our program, but our first priority is to be there for him today, tomorrow and the days afterward. The door will certainly remain open for his return to ECU and when it’s appropriate for us to talk about football again, we will do so.”
Minshew, who has already earned his bachelor’s degree in communication from ECU, split the quarterback duties with Thomas Sirk in 2017. The former junior college transfer started five games, completing 57 percent of his passes for 2,140 yards and 16 touchdowns.
He set school and American Athletic Conference single-game records by going 52 of 68 for 463 yards in a loss at Houston on Nov. 4.
Minshew had already been named by Montgomery as ECU’s starter going into spring practice later this month, a status that would have allowed for Ahlers to be brought along slowly — and possibly redshirted.
But the young recruit’s timetable for getting onto the field may now have to be accelerated unless Minshew’s situation changes between now and the start of fall camp.
Ahlers threw for 11,198 yards and 145 touchdowns in his four seasons at Greenville’s D.H. Conley High School, including 3,763 yards and 61 scores with only four interceptions as senior this year. His father is the PA announcer at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.