football Edit

Take Two: Should Wazzu QB Minshew be a Heisman candidate?

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position

Gardner Minshew
Gardner Minshew (James Snook/USA TODAY sports)

Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling an issue in the college football landscape. National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and a local expert from the network of team sites.

MORE: Is five-star Quavaris Crouch a Clemson lock? | Does UCF deserve a CFB Playoff shot?


Washington State’s Gardner Minshew has put up amazing stats this season as he leads every quarterback – Power Five and non-Power Five – with 4,326 passing yards. To compare, that is 1,481 more than Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, 1,011 more than Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray and 630 more than Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins.

Minshew is climbing into the Heisman Trophy conversation but it still seems hard to believe that he’s a frontrunner or even has a legitimate shot at winning the prize in a few weeks.

As far as other stats, Minshew has the same touchdown-interception ratio as Haskins at 36 and 7. That is two more touchdowns and one more pick than Murray and five more TDs and five more interceptions than Tagovailoa entering the final week of the regular season.

All those numbers seem to shine a light on Minshew as deserving of more consideration especially since Washington State is 10-1 and ranked eighth nationally.

An argument against Minshew would be in pass attempts and this is where it gets interesting. The Washington State quarterback has thrown the ball an incredible 579 times this season – 342 more than Tagovailoa, 300 more than Murray and 152 more than Haskins. Minshew’s 407 completions are more than the attempts by Murray and Tagovailoa by far.

Considering Minshew’s numbers, should he be more seriously considered for the Heisman or is the Washington State offense so pass-happy that some of those stats should not be weighed as seriously?


“West Coast folks like to complain about East Coast bias when it comes to major college football, and they're probably right. However, Mike Leach often talks about 'LA Bias' within the West Coast media. In short, unless it happens in Los Angeles, few people pay attention. So, regarding your question as to why Minshew is still a long shot for the Heisman Trophy, the answer is simple: Because he's the quarterback for Washington State.

“If Minshew was piling up the same numbers at USC or UCLA, probably Oregon too, he would definitely be the frontrunner for the Heisman. Luke Falk faced the same thing during his three years as the Cougars’ starting QB. Look at the list of the Heisman Trophy winners over the past 20 years. How many have played for non-blueblood programs? Very few. I see lots of from Alabama, USC, Oklahoma, Florida State.

"So, I'm not surprised Minshew is not the clear frontrunner. That distinction has belonged to the Alabama QB since the season began. As Leach pointed out, the Heisman Trophy is now usually given to the No. 1 offensive player on the No. 1 team. The hype surrounding Tua and Kyler Murray began before the season.

“Six weeks ago, many people didn't know who Gardner Minshew was, except perhaps for the people living on the Palouse. ESPN's College GameDay's visit to Pullman plus the win over Oregon got people to start noticing the Cougars. Now we have Minshew Mania, and his mustache is as famous as he is. But it will be virtually impossible to overtake Tua and Murray in the Heisman race. My prediction is Minshew will be invited to NYC as the third guy, but Tua will win the Heisman.”


“Minshew throws the ball a lot more than Tua and Murray. Yes, there is some bias because he plays games on the West Coast, he plays late-night games. He should be a finalist for sure. I’m not sure he should be a shoe-in for the Heisman.

“He should be in the discussion but that offense is made to put up numbers. Luke Falk put up crazy numbers there. Whoever is in that system is going to put up numbers so when it comes to being the most important player for your football team, he could very well make an argument for that.

"Alabama would probably still be undefeated if Jalen Hurts was the quarterback but I don’t know how good Ohio State would be without Dwayne Haskins, I certainly don’t know how good Oklahoma would be without Kyler Murray. I would say Minshew should be a finalist but Tua is the guy who’s probably going to win it.”