Breaking News
More () »

4 NFL players with INW ties prepare for Super Bowl LVII

Eagles players Gardner Minshew, Andre Dillard and Christian Elliss and Chiefs defensive back Jaylen Watson ready to play in Super Bowl.

SPOKANE, Wash. — As the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs gear up for Super Bowl LVII on Sunday, four players with inland northwest ties are preparing for the biggest stage in their sport.

Washington State University alums Gardner Minshew and Andre Dillard play for the Eagles along with University of Idaho alum Christian Elliss.

WSU alum Jaylen Watson is a defensive back for the Chiefs.

Minshew is the most notable name of the four in the inland northwest after transferring as a graduate student to WSU in 2018 from East Carolina and leading the Cougs to an 11-2 record and a Valero Alamo Bowl victory under then head coach Mike Leach.

Credit: AP
Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew (16) holds his Offensive Player of the Game trophy as he celebrates the team's 28-26 win over Iowa State in the Alamo Bowl NCAA college football game, Friday, Dec. 28, 2018, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Minshew led the nation in passing in 2018 with 4,776 yards and was named to the All PAC-12 first team. He also won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and was named the PAC-12 offensive player of the year. He was a welcome addition to a program searching for a new quarterback to lead the team following the death of presumed starter Tyler Hilinski. 

He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. After an injury to starting quarterback Nick Foles in week one of the season, Minshew became the Jaguars' starter.

He started 12 games and compiled a 6-6 record. The following season, Minshew was named the starting quarterback in Jacksonville from day one, but only compiled a 1-7 record as a starter and suffered several injuries.

He was traded to the Eagles in 2021 to backup starting quarterback Jalen Hurts. He is 1-3 as a starter in Philadelphia filling in for an injured Hurts.

Andre Dillard blocked Minshew's blind side in 2018 to a first team All-PAC-12 honor. He was drafted by the Eagles with the 29th pick in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Credit: AP
Washington State offensive lineman Andre Dillard (60) lines up for a play during the second half of an NCAA college football game against San Jose State in Pullman, Wash., Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

Dillard has been in and out of the starting lineup since he was drafted and is currently the backup to Eagles' left tackle Jordan Mailata.

Christian Elliss was a two time first team All Big Sky member in 2019 and 2021. He led Idaho in tackles in 2019 and in sacks in 2021.

Credit: University of Idaho Athletics

He went undrafted in the 2021 NFL Draft. He spent parts of that season on the Eagles and San Francisco 49ers' practice squads. 

He signed a futures/reserve contract at the beginning of 2022 with Philadelphia and has played in six games this season. His brother Noah was a member of the Eagles' practice squad this season as well.

Jaylen Watson is the only one of the four who receives regular playing time. Watson has had quite the life. He began his college career at Ventura College. After two seasons, he made the decision to transfer to USC. However, Watson did not meet the academic requirements to attend USC, so he worked at Wendy's in 2019 and did not play football.

Watson transferred to WSU in 2020 and was an All PAC-12 honorable mention in both 2020 and 2021. 

Credit: AP
Washington State defensive back Jaylen Watson walks on the field during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Stanford, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Pullman, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

He was drafted by the Chiefs in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft. As a rookie, he has recorded three interceptions including a pick six in a primetime Thursday night matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers, and an interception in each of his team's first two playoff games this postseason.

You can catch all four players in action on Sunday, February 12th in Arizona. Kick off is set for 3:30 PM. 

With Dillard and Minshew playing for Philadelphia and Watson playing for Kansas City, WSU will be assured of at least one Super Bowl champion this season.

KREM ON SOCIAL MEDIA:Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube



ROKU: add the channel from the ROKU store or by searching for KREM in the Channel Store.

Fire TV: search for "KREM" to find the free app to add to your account. Another option for Fire TV is to have the app delivered directly to your Fire TV through Amazon.

To report a typo or grammatical error, please email webspokane@krem.com

Before You Leave, Check This Out