Gardner Minshew has been the surprising breakout star of the 2019 NFL season and the rookie was only expected to be a backup quarterback.
The Jacksonville Jaguars paid a lot of money to Nick Foles in the off-season, $50million (£38.62m) in guarantees, to be their starter but he managed to break his clavicle in the first game of the season and he is expected to be out for several more weeks.
The Jags drafted Minshew in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL draft to be ready in case Foles got injured but few would have envisaged it would have come so soon.
The 23-year-old, from Mississippi, has garnered a cult following for his moustache, headband and jovial personality.
He looks like Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite, and could definitely throw a football over them mountains, but he is so much more than that.
You can catch Minshew in action when the Jaguars head to London for their match with the Houston Texans on Sunday, with commentary live on talKSPORT.
Here at talkSPORT.com, we have taken an in-depth look at the rookie quarterback to see what all the fuss is about.
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Tom Brady comparisons
Hear me out on this one.
It is obvious Minshew is not at the same level as the six-time Super Bowl champion, future Hall of Famer and G.O.A.T.
But both entered the league with far less respect than they actually deserved. Brady himself was a sixth round pick when the New England Patriots chose him 199th overall in the 2000 draft.
Brady also got his shot as a starter, although it was in his second season, when the Patriots’ first choice QB, Drew Bledsoe, got injured.
That season they went on to win the Super Bowl and have not looked back since.
Minshew certainly has the potential to be a franchise quarterback and, if the first eight games of the season are anything to go by, then he can expect a long career in the NFL.
A chip on his shoulder?
He was rated as a three-star prospect coming out of High School but had no scholarship offers to go to college.
Minshew was a walk-on at Troy University in Alabama before deciding to transfer to Northwest Mississippi Community College to play Junior College football.
Mississippi is a hotbed of JUCO football talent, as anyone who has watched the Netflix series Last Chance U will know.
He led Northwest to a National Championship before transferring to Division 1 College team East Carolina University.
Minshew split his time with a Duke University transfer and showed glimpses of what talents he could offer but they had a record of 3-14 in games he played in.
For his final year of eligibility, Minshew transferred to Washington State where he led them to a 11-2 record and threw for 38 touchdowns with just nine interceptions.
He was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year for 2018 and finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting.
Despite a phenomenal season with Washington State, he was still overlooked by prospective teams because of a perceived lack of arm strength and height.
Can he be the real deal?
There were three quarterbacks taken in the first round of the 2019 NFL draft and Minshew has outplayed them all.
Kyler Murray was taken first overall by the Arizona Cardinals and has so far thrown seven touchdowns with four interceptions and has a passer rating of 85.8.
Daniel Jones took over as starter from Eli Manning at the New York Giants and hit the ground running with 10 touchdowns but has thrown seven picks and they currently sit at 2-6.
The third quarterback, Dwayne Haskins, has only made 22 pass attempts in his sporadic appearances for the Washington Redskins and he has no touchdowns but four interceptions..
Minshew’s numbers compared to his rivals are staggering. He has 13 touchdowns with two interceptions and has thrown for nearly 2,000 yards.
Will Foles get the starting job back?
The Jaguars are 4-4 this season in a very competitive AFC South with the Indianapolis Colts leading the way on 5-2. Their clash with the Texans (5-3) at Wembley on Sunday is a huge division game and could have implications for the rest of the season. All four teams in the division have won at least four games and is probably the hardest to call on who will make the play-offs.
Foles will get healthy at some point this season but the job may no longer be his when he does return. There was even talk of teams trying to trade for Foles before Tuesday’s deadline
It will be hard for the Jags to bench Minshew if he continues to play as he has started and they are in possible play-off contention.
It also poses a difficult question for the Florida based team for next season as well.
Nick Foles signed a four-year contract worth $88million (£68m) with the Jaguars in the off-season and they would have to take a big hit on their cap space if they were to trade him away.
Minshew will be on his rookie deal until at least 2021, as he’s not eligible for a new deal until after his third season, and if he really is a Super Bowl calibre quarterback then they can use that to stack up their team in other areas.
When can UK fans see him?
Minshew Mania is heading to the UK on November 3 when the Jacksonville Jaguars face the Houston Texans at Wembley Stadium.
The Jaguars have a strong UK following as they regularly play matches here and fans are sure to get excited about his arrival.
Minshew’s task on Sunday has become a little easier too with three-time NFL defensive player of the year J.J. Watt out injured, which should significantly reduce his chances of being sacked.
Throughout the season we have TWO exclusive commentaries every weekend, including Jacksonville Jaguars vs Houston Texans on Sunday.
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