Minshew will join WSU's quarterback competition after transferring from East Carolina.

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HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — The first message Washington State senior receiver Kyle Sweet received this summer from his new quarterback was less a request and more of a command.

I’m going to throw tomorrow, Gardner Minshew texted Sweet upon his arrival in Pullman. Meet me on the field.

Sweet was happy to comply. Happy, too, to pass along a positive scouting report about the transfer QB from East Carolina.

The first thing to jump out about Minshew?

“He’s got a cannon,” Sweet said.

Beyond arm talent, Minshew has worked hard to acquit himself with his new teammates — and his new receivers in particular — since arriving in Pullman earlier this summer.

“He’s very acclimated to the program,” Sweet said at Pac-12 Football Media Day on Wednesday. “He’s one of the most sincere people I’ve met. Just a typical Southern boy and he was raised very well and he’s very well-mannered. He’s awesome. He’s already stepped into that leadership role, too. That’s very encouraging to see a new guy step in like that and take over the reins.”

Washington State announced the arrival of Minshew, a 6-foot-2, 216-pound Mississippi native, in May, after the quarterback flirted with the idea of transferring to Alabama. As a graduate transfer, Minshew will be eligible to play immediately for the Cougars this season, and he will join a competition with Trey Tinsley and Anthony Gordon when fall camp begins next week.

Tinsley and Gordon have the advantage of two years’ experience in Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense, but Minshew is the only QB on the roster with FBS experience.

“I just haven’t seen enough to where I can make comparisons,” Sweet said. “But they’re all good in their own way, they’re all special in their own way, and it’s going to be fun during camp who’s going to get that starting job.”

Minshew played in 10 games, starting five, at East Carolina last season, throwing for 2,140 yards with 16 touchdowns, seven interceptions and completing 57.2 percent of his passes.

“He’s older. Has some experience in kind of leadership quality, I think,” WSU coach Mike Leach said. “He’s really accurate. Getting acclimated with our players and our schemes, somewhat, but his scheme, he’s been around our scheme some. So there’s that. But it will be a heck of a battle, because I thought Gordon and Tinsley both had really good springs, and I think both of those guys will be difficult to beat out.

“You’ve got a lot of talent in (freshman) Cammon Cooper, who as he gets used to being a college football player, and he had a really good off-season. That will be exciting to see too.”

Cougars picked fifth

That the WSU was predicted to finish fifth in the Pac-12 North wasn’t necessarily a surprise to the Cougars on Wednesday. But they do expect to offer some surprises on the field this fall.

“We’re always the underdog,” safety Jalen Thompson said. “I feel like we’re going to come out and shock some people.”

The Cougars have just 10 returning starters and the least experienced roster in the Pac-12.

“We’ve been like that the last couple years. We’ve always played with a chip on our shoulder, always been the underdog,” Sweet said. “It’s nothing new. We’ve been here before, and we’re just going to go out and buy in and do what we need to do to be successful.”