Gardner, who has been quietly making a name for himself in the Jacksonville area as a power, yet shifty runner out of the backfield, reports interest from Duke, Vanderbilt, Miami, Stanford, and Wisconsin early on. He's also heard from Notre Dame a few times.
As a sophomore he ran for nearly 800 yards on just 74 carries. This year, he's already surpassed that total, and is averaging a robust 93.7 yards per contest, with an average yards per carry of more than 7.5 yards. It's why Duke has been involved early. Very early.
"I didn't know much about Duke until this time last year," said Gardner. "After learning about them, I feel like the team is moving in a great direction. On the visit I had a chance to meet with Coach Jomar Wright and my recruiting coach, Coach Collins. I feel like both of them were very family oriented, and they stressed the value of Duke's academics. They are also great people who know how to connect."
Currently Gardner claims no offers, but says Duke has talked about the possibility of one coming on soon.
"They want to see how I finish out the season and then they are going to see me play in a couple of weeks. If that goes well, then maybe I will have my first offer from them by the Spring. Or, maybe they will really like what they see when they come visit me on November 9th and it could happen then."