JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Gardner Minshew’s phone has been pretty active since Sunday, but with how last season played out at WSU, it’s nothing he isn’t used to.
"It was pretty wild, man. Part of that is because we’ve got some of the best fans at Wazzu," said Gardner. "Up there it was chaotic. It was crazy. In that little corner of the country, it was something else. That was a lot of fun. It’s something you embrace and try to use your platform for good and to share positive messages with people."
Gardner was asked Wednesday in Jacksonville, a place that feels a universe away from the Palouse, why he thinks Minshew Mania got as big as it did.
"I’d say just because we were winning games and having a lot of fun. It was time for that community, going through a lot of healing with the passing of Tyler Hilinski. Just really trying to honor that legacy and bring hope to a community that was pretty down," Minshew said.
The lessons that Tyler taught are still very much in the forefront of the WSU community.
They also helped reinforce a philosophy for Gardner-- one he’ll have to employ once again in the NFL.
"[I] learned a lot of things going to different schools and learning the right way to step in and try to lead and that’s through going in and earning respect and not demanding respect," he said. "Earn it with how you work, your study habits, everything like that instead of just going in and talking and being loud. That’s been one thing that’s served me well throughout my whole career."
Now, Gardner will be asked to lead one of the most inexperienced quarterback rooms in the country.
Gardner has been a Jacksonville Jaguar for 138 days.
His backup Josh Dobbs? He’s only been a part of the Jags for a few days.
"I was joking about that. I was like, 'Dang I’ve been here longer than anybody. That’s kind of crazy.' Like they’re asking me questions. I’m like, 'Golly!'," Minshew said through some laughs. "But it’s awesome man. Great guys, young guys, we have a lot of fun. Look forward to challenging each other, helping each other, and winning games together.
Dobbs has a degree in aerospace engineering.
Minshew had the second highest Wonderlic score of quarterbacks in the draft this season.
When asked whether they may have the quarterback room with the highest IQ in the NFL?
Well, Gardner’s just the same guy we saw playing in a WSU uniform a few months ago.
"He’s kind of in his own deal, man. I’ve got a communications degree. I know y’all know about it," Gardner said as he busted up again speaking to the media. "I belong in this room more than that one."
The following video is a report on Gardner Minshew being drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.