East Carolina will have to bounce back from a 3-9 season in 2017 without its starting quarterback. The program announced Tuesday evening that signal caller Gardner Minshew has withdrawn from school to tend to a personal matter in his home state of Mississippi.
“Our full support is with Gardner and his family during this time,” Pirates head coach Scottie Montgomery said in a statement. “He’s been an asset and a leader in our program, but our first priority is to be there for him today, tomorrow and the days afterward. The door will certainly remain open for him to return to ECU, and when it’s appropriate for us to talk about football again, we will do so.”
As a junior last season, Minshew connected on 174-of-304 attempts (57.2 percent) for 2,140 yards with 16 touchdowns against seven interceptions in 10 appearances and five starts. The Brandon, Miss., native ranked fifth in the American among all players with at least 300 attempts with a 129.13 efficiency rating. He won a national championship with Northwest Mississippi Community College in 2015 before joining the ECU roster the following year.
Minshew set an AAC record by completing 52-of-68 passes for 463 yards with three touchdowns and one interception in a 52-27 loss at Houston on Nov. 4.
East Carolina also loses senior Thomas Sirk, a graduate transfer from Duke, meaning that rising sophomore Reid Herring is the most experienced returning quarterback on the roster. He threw one pass last season.