Gardner Minshew was Brad Banks 2.0 - a prophetic look back to 2014
In this National Signing Day Special on the Hour Glass we high light Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew and his accomplishments.
Rarely do I do an “I told you so” piece, but today is your lucky day. Back in 2014 I was writing for several outlets and did a piece for the now defunct Mississippi Sports Magazine, highlighting Minshew as a high school junior and comparing him to former Iowa quarterback Brad Banks.
My justification for the article was I felt I sensed the same trend coming for Gardner as Brad back in the early 2000’s and that is, coaches would look more at his measurable’s and less at his on the field play. It turns out, I was right and both men traveled similar paths and in the end, the State of Mississippi lost and college football won.
I had the honor to cover Gardner in high school and call every game he played in 10-12th grade and you could see it then - what the world sees now.
Below is the article from 2014 and some funny, yet interesting message board posts from that year.
Mississippi’s Big Three Coaches Need to Remember Brad Banks When Thinking about Passing on Brandon’s Garder Minshew
May 19, 2014
College football recruiting has become a 365-day a year, seven day a week job for college coaches.
Coaches evaluate player after player, year after year, in search for the right fit for their university; and coaches start evaluating high school talent as early as ninth grade in some instances and spend countless hours on a player to determine if a player can or cannot make the cut at their university.
Brandon, MS quarterback Gardner Minshew is right in the thick of that process as he tries to juggle leading his team in preparation for the 2014 season, hitting the camp circuit and early graduation.
Minshew is on pace to graduate high school in December, so this entire process has hit fast forward for him and others that chose to forgo their final semester of high school.
“Several schools have come by, I’m just trying to gauge interest and see what my options are,” Minshew said. “It helps having Fletcher (Adams) here, as several schools from in state and out of state stop by.”
And while many schools have stopped by and some offers have started to roll in, Minshew still lacks the offers from the big division - one schools in state and around the region.
While recruiting isn’t an exact science, many coaches have criteria and somewhat of a check list they go by when evaluating players and determining if they will, or will not offer a player. From depth charts to measurable and more, college coaches spend hours on evaluation.
However, sometimes coaches can over complicate things and in the end, they miss out on a gem of a recruit, sitting right in front of them.
Such was the case fourteen years ago, right here in the state of Mississippi.
Quarterback Brad Banks transferred from Central Florida in 2000 to Hinds Community College, where he wanted a fresh start and what a fresh start he had. Banks threw for 2,192 yards and 16 touchdowns while leading Hinds to a junior college state championship and a number-four national junior college ranking.
One would have thought Banks would have been a hot commodity with those numbers, as quarterbacks are always cherished. However, Banks stood only 5-11 and weighed 205 lbs; very similar to Minshew who is slightly taller at 6-1 and heavier at 210 lbs.
Then Ole Miss Head coach David Cutcliffe had Eli Manning in the wings so it didn’t make sense for Ole Miss to offer Banks.
Jackie Sherrill had Kevin Fant but, wanted another quarterback. He chose Kyle York instead of offering Banks.
Then Southern Miss head coach Jeff Bower didn’t want a junior college player at quarterback and chose Micky D’Angelo.
Out of all those quarterbacks I don’t have to tell you who succeeded and who didn’t - Only Eli Manning.
Banks ended up taking his talents to the University of Iowa where he led the Hawkeyes to an 11-2 record, a birth in the Rose Bowl and Banks was a Heisman Trophy finalist. Had Iowa not lost to Iowa State in the regular season, they probably would’ve played for the national championship.
So here we are fourteen years later and while Banks was a junior college player and Minshew is a high school player looking to enroll in January at a senior college, their recruitments mimic each other, as do their games.
All Minshew has done is win and put up big time numbers in three years at Brandon, with one more to go. Minshew has thrown for over 6,000-yards and 58 touchdowns in the biggest classification in Mississippi high school football and arguably the toughest region in the state.
Minshew has also garnered MVP of countless camps around the region and while the offers are still slow to come in, he waits patiently and works tirelessly.
“The off season has been tough. I’d say since I’ve been here at Brandon, it’s been the toughest we have had,” Minshew said. “From the weight room to working by ourselves on 7 on 7 as a team, I feel like we’ve made improvements that had to be made.”
Minshew knows the offers will come and while he waits, he has work to be finished in the state of Mississippi.
His team has been “oh so close” to that state championship but, it has eluded them. Brandon lost to South Panola two years ago in the championship game and was upset by Meridian on the road last year in the semifinals.
“We fill like we gave state away, it’s been right in front of our faces and we haven’t taken it,” Minshew said.
So, the grind will continue through summer and into the fall, as Minshew looks to cement him-self as one of the best quarterbacks ever in the Mississippi high school ranks, win a state championship and find the right fit for him collegiately.
“I just do what I have to do, daily. From being a leader to working on becoming a complete quarterback, I know if I take care of what I need to take care of; the rest will fall into place,” Minshew said. “Everybody has their criteria that they are looking for. I’m just trying to find the school that I fit what they are trying to do offensively.”
And Minshew, while somewhat disappointed he hasn’t gotten that “in state” offer yet, from one of the “big three”, is not limiting himself to just this state or even region. He is determined to play quarterback for a big time program.
“I’ve talked with Mike Leach at Washington State and West Virginia, among others. I’d like to stay close to home but, if I have to go elsewhere I will, if the situation is right.”
So here we are, as we watch history and wonder, will it repeat itself? Yes, both Ole Miss and Mississippi State look like they have adequate quarterback depth in the foreseeable future but, do you pass on a guy with Minshew’s talent right in your back yard?
Southern Miss needs a big time player at quarterback but, they have yet to offer as well.
This writer is no college football coach - however, I have had the opportunity to see Minshew in every game he has played over the last two years and I can tell you this. He is a winner, a leader and hardly ever makes a mistake. He is the best at his position that these eyes have seen in this state, over the last twenty years.
He will continue to win this year and he will win on the next level. The question is where?
Mississippi dropped the ball on Brad Banks fourteen years ago. Let’s hope the state doesn’t do that with Gardner Minshew.
Five years from now, we need not look back and ask “how did we let this one get away”?
Gardner Minshew is going to win; he is going to play college football. Whoever gets him will be getting a gem.
It would be a shame to say “what if”, with one of Mississippi’s elite quarterbacks. It would be a shame to have another Brad Banks.
2014 Message Board Posts on Gardner Minshew: