First Northwest player on Super Bowl roster since Kory Chapman
Credit: Brian Lentz, NWCC Sports Information Director
When Super Bowl LVII kicks off on Sunday, Feb. 12, a familiar face to Northwest fans will be suited up and ready to go.
Former Northwest quarterback Gardner Minshew II will get his shot at earning his first Super Bowl ring, joining the Philadelphia Eagles in taking on the Kansas City Chiefs. The Brandon native and former Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award winner is the first Ranger to suit up in the Super Bowl since running back Kory Chapman, who did it twice in the mid-2000s for the New England Patriots (2005) and the Indianapolis Colts (2006).
Though most of the attention is on starting quarterback Jalen Hurts, Minshew is certainly no stranger to football fans. He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he spent his first two seasons. During his first season with the Jaguars, Minshew lit up the NFL, completing 61 percent of his passes for over 3,200 yards and 21 touchdowns, while earning six Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week honors.
Injuries plagued Minshew during the 2020 season, but he still tossed 16 touchdowns against five interceptions for 2,259 yards. He was traded to Philadelphia at the start of the 2021 season, where he has backed up Hurts ever since.
Despite only playing nine games for the Eagles over the past two seasons, Minshew has made the most of his limited appearances. He has thrown seven touchdowns for a combined 1,112 yards and rushed for a touchdown of his own in a narrow loss to the Dallas Cowboys on December 24, 2022. In four total years in the NFL, his career completion percentage is 62.8 with 44 touchdowns against 15 interceptions.
Prior to his NFL career, Minshew starred for Northwest in 2015, guiding the Rangers to an 11-1 overall record and the NJCAA Championship. The Honorable Mention NJCAA All-American completed 223 passes for 3,288 yards, 28 touchdowns and five interceptions, finishing second in the NJCAA in passing yards and attempts.
His lone season in Senatobia caught the attention of East Carolina, which signed Minshew in May 2016. He spent two seasons with the Pirates, throwing for over 2,000 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2017, before signing with Washington State and then-coach Mike Leach in time for the 2018 campaign.
It was at Washington State where the nation took notice of Minshew. The “Mustache Mania” swept over the Pac-12 and NCAA landscape, as Minshew completed 468 of his 662 pass attempts for an astonishing 4,776 yards, 38 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The Cougars finished 11-2 on the season, while Minshew earned Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and finished fifth in the 2018 Heisman Trophy voting, behind Kyler Murray, Tua Tagovailoa, Dwayne Haskins and Will Grier.
Super Bowl LVII will kick off on Sunday, February 12 at 5:30 p.m. Central on FOX.