Former East Carolina quarterback Gardner Minshew has been rumored to headed to Alabama since he took an official visit there last week. Wednesday, the graduate transfer has made it official by committing to join the defending national champions next season, according to AL. com, SportsIllustrated.com and several other publications.
Minshew, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound Mississippi native, left the Pirates’ program in January citing a serious family matter. He played in 10 games for ECU last season while splitting time with Thomas Sirk, starting five, throwing for 2,140 yards and 16 touchdowns.
While Minshew was slated to be the Pirates’ starter next season, he figures to be little more than an insurance policy with the Crimson Tide in the event either 2017 SEC Offensive Player of the Year Jalen Hurts or national championship game hero Tua Tagovailoa decides to transfer this summer.
As things stand now, he is one of four scholarship quarterbacks on the Alabama roster.
Minshew reportedly sent inquiries to schools within driving distance of his hometown of Brandon, Miss., and received interest from Auburn and Tennessee, along with Alabama. He is eligible to play right away after receiving his bachelor’s degree in communications from ECU in December.
According to SI.com’s Bruce Feldman, the former Pirate chose Alabama to help him prepare for a future coaching career.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity,” Gardner told Feldman. “I want to get into coaching after my playing career is done. Being around that atmosphere and to be around Coach Saban would be such an invaluable experience.”
Gardner’s unexpected departure has left ECU with three untested youngsters — sophomore Reid Herring, redshirt freshman Kingsley Ifedi and true freshman Holton Ahlers — to battle for the starting quarterback job. There is also a possibility that Pirates coach Scottie Montgomery might also seek a graduate transfer to fill the void.