On Monday, it was announced that Alabama head coach Nick Saban will be leaving the program at the end of the 2018 season. That’s no small news, since the Crimson Tide have won 5 national championships since 2009, including four in the past seven years. But with that news came the news that the NFL draft is in just over a month. And with that news is the news that the Crimson Tide are looking to fill the position of offensive coordinator. But with that news is the news that Alabama has asked to interview Nick Saban’s son, Nick Saban Jr. That’s right. Nick Saban Jr. is the one looking to fill the offensive coordinator’s job after his father.
The Crimson Tide head to Philadelphia for the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, and there are some pretty big names on the roster. Jalen Hurts moved to the starter’s role following the departure of former starter Tua Tagovailoa, but Minshew is no doubt wishing he could have remained on the sideline.
For more than a decade, Lane Kiffin and Nick Saban have built some of the most dominant programs in college football. The two men made their college football debut together at USC, where they won a national championship in 2003. When Kiffin left for the head coaching gig at Florida Atlantic in 2010, only the two remaining college football powerhouses were left, and many expected their on-field rivalry to carry over to the professional ranks.
Gardner Minshew is the Philadelphia Eagles’ newest player.
Minshew was considered expendable and dealt to the Eagles after an up-and-down summer with the Jacksonville Jaguars (which eventually led to his being named Trevor Lawrence’s backup). With Jalen Hurts and Joe Flacco already on the roster, the Eagles didn’t need another quarterback, but general manager Howie Roseman is constantly seeking to expand his “QB factory.”
The trade’s most amusing aspect is that Minshew will be Hurts’ backup, a scenario that was nearly a reality in college.
Gardner Minshew was on the verge of enrolling at Alabama.
John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images Gardner Minshew II
According to Nick Toney of The Checkdown, Minshew was on the verge of committing to Alabama as a backup quarterback.
When he graduated from high school, the Mississippi native pledged to UAB, but the program broke apart in 2014. Minshew, a 6-foot-1 quarterback, was left without a scholarship offer as a result.
Minshew immediately reached out to additional institutions, including Troy, Northwest Mississippi Community College, East Carolina, and, yes, Alabama.
After leaving the Eagles, the quarterback went to East Carolina before finishing his collegiate football career at Washington State. Nonetheless, he really contemplated joining the Crimson Tide at one point:
Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa would have sat behind Minshew. He decided it was past time to consider a coaching career. Then Leach phoned from Pullman, according to ESPN.
“Do you want to be a backup at Alabama or lead the country in passing?” Leach was asked.
Minshew’s journey is well-known. He joined Leach’s squad, helped lead an offensive explosion, and was selected in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
The Checkdown, Nick Toney
Jalen Hurts’ backup would have been Gardner Minshew.
According to reports, the Jaguars are trading quarterback Gardner Minshew II to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a conditional sixth-round selection in 2022. If Minshew plays in 50% of the plays in three games this season, the 6th-round selection may be traded to a 5th.
August 28, 2021 — Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter)
The irony of Minshew almost choosing Alabama is that Hurts was a member of the Crimson Tide’s quarterback room. Minshew would have been the third-string quarterback behind Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa, similar to his position with the Eagles.
Minshew made the right decision by attending smaller colleges like East Carolina and Washington State, which gave him the chance to start. He probably wouldn’t have had such a chance at Alabama, particularly because Hurts and Tagovailoa were already there.
It is, however, a tiny planet. Minshew is back where he nearly began a few years later, backing up Hurts for a big-market club.
It’s uncertain if the Eagles will have a quarterback competition.
Based on how the Eagles distributed preseason repetitions, Hurts looks to be the obvious starter going forward. That isn’t to say that things won’t alter as the season continues.
Minshew said earlier this summer that he does not want to be a backup quarterback. Assuming he brings the same mentality to Philadelphia as he did in Jacksonville, one can expect him to aggressively push his way up the Eagles depth chart.
Minshew must first overtake Flacco. If he succeeds, football fans will get a taste of what Minshew against Hurts could have been like at Alabama.
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