Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. Today, we talk the latest with a possible graduate transfer quarterback.
Alabama one step closer to landing potential quarterback
Coach Nick Saban hinted last week that Alabama may potentially bring in a quarterback in the coming weeks after striking out on signing a 2018 signal caller on scholarship.
“I think that we’ll probably have a quarterback join us, some kind of way between now and then, which I don’t think I can comment about,” he said. “Look, when you have really good young players at a position, sometimes it’s hard to attract another guy at that particular position. I think you all know our circumstance at quarterback right now with the players we have here, the grade they are in and how much more eligibility they have.
“So, rather [than] reach for somebody, we would rather try to solve the issue another way. Maybe get a more experienced guy down the road, and certainly think that next year we might be in a position to get a really good player at that position who could be someone who could impact us in the future.”
The top target who has emerged as a possibility for the Crimson Tide is East Carolina graduate transfer quarterback Gardner Minshew, who threw for 2,140 yards, 16 touchdowns with 7 interceptions this past season for the Pirates.
Minshew, who was expected to be ECU’s No. 1 quarterback this spring, told SEC Country that the reason why he transferred from the program in late January was because of an emergency family situation. He sent his release out to schools “within driving distance” from his home in Brandon, Miss. Schools in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee received his release.
Alabama was one of the first schools to reach out to Minshew. He said he initially spoke to offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, but his primary communication has been with quarterbacks coach Dan Enos. He’s also had one phone conversation with Saban.
Minshew, who has one year of eligibility left and the potential for a redshirt year, said he’s leaning toward the Tide.
“Alabama 100 percent leads,” Minshew told SEC Country. “They were the first ones to hit me up. There haven’t been many schools to hit me up. I told the [Alabama] coaches that it was a situation that was favorable for me. I’m in. They told me they’re in, so I’m in on them. That’s where I’m at right now.”
The 6-foot-1, 223-pound quarterback said he plans to visit Tuscaloosa, which is roughly a 2 1/2-hour drive west on I-20 from Brandon, Miss., as soon as he can. It’s likely the school he chooses if everything goes well on his visit.
Minshew said he has received some negative backlash on social media for leaving ECU, but he wanted the message to be clear that the reason why he left the university had everything to do with what his family is going through right now.
“I had to come home immediately,” Minshew said. “That’s why I’m not in school this spring. I’m having to take off from everything. We thought about not going back at all in January, but we decided to try it. I went through a month, and it just wasn’t working for me. I’m home right now just working on things. I hope to go somewhere close to home.
“I absolutely love ECU. I’m leaving behind some incredible coaches and great teammates. They have one of the best fan bases in college football. It was certainly hard to leave, but there are circumstances outside of my control. It’s unfortunately been one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make. I absolutely loved my time at ECU.”
That’s why Alabama, though the path to immediate playing time in Tuscaloosa is quite difficult with Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa on the roster, is an appealing option for him. It’s close enough to home, and that is priority No. 1 to Minshew right now.
He also knows if he chooses the Tide that the competition he’s going to face will be fierce, but that’s OK with him. He’s used to competing and working for everything he’s earned.
He graduated high school with a 4.0 GPA before walking on at Troy University. He then transferred to Northwest Mississippi Community College, where he led the school to a national championship. Minshew then graduated early and transferred to ECU, where he competed throughout his time there. He made seven starts in his career at East Carolina, but it wasn’t until the Pirates’ last four games this past season where he saw the majority of his success. Minshew threw for 1,486 yards and 10 touchdowns during that stretch.
“As far as getting on the field right away [at Alabama], it’s going to be a grind,” Minshew said. “They told me that I can come in and compete. That’s all I ask for. I know where I’m coming in at. They have two really, really, really good young guys. I can’t say enough about them, their leadership and maturity. I just hope to bring in work ethic, leadership and more maturity. I want to help out that room any way I can.”
Minshew said he will enroll at the school of his choice this summer. He has already had conversations with his parents if they were OK if Alabama was the school he ended up at, and he said they “100 percent support me.”
Minshew, who was named a team captain for ECU last season, said if he did end up with the Tide, the team would be getting a driven and hardworking teammate who doesn’t expect anything handed to him. He also said that he just wants to win at all costs, no matter what his role is.
Enos told Minshew that the main thing he is looking for in his quarterbacks at Alabama is decision-making. He wants his quarterbacks to be able to go through progressions and make smart plays. Enos made it a point to tell Minshew that is what stood out to him when he watched his film.
The next potential quarterback at Alabama knows why he would choose the Tide if it is the next team he represents.
“It’s the biggest stage. It’s the best coaches. It’s the best players,” he said. “It’s just something I want to be a part of. It’s the best tradition in college football. It’s something that I can’t wait to be around [when I visit]. It’s kind of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s something I’m very grateful for, and I’m excited to see where it goes.”
There’s no timeline as to when Minshew might make his decision, but it’s clear where he’s leaning right now.
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