Gardner's good vibes were rather obvious Monday afternoon, when the senior receiver sprinted to an electronically timed 4.46 in the 40-yard dash during Florida State's strength and agility testing. Gardner edged fellow wide receiver Craphonso Thorpe, who clocked a 4.47 on the practice field -- Mike Long Track is under construction.
Gardner, who finished as the team's second-leading receiver last season with 33 catches for 649 yards and ranked sixth in the ACC in receiving yards per game with an average of 64.9, was pleased with his effort. Plagued by injuries during his career with the Seminoles, Gardner only has one wish -- to stay healthy.
"It's been a good off-season for me," said Gardner, who had 11 touchdown receptions in 2001 but missed most of spring drills with a bruised knee. "I'm feeling pretty good. That's the thing, just stay healthy."
Gardner demonstrated his skills during an impressive three-game stretch last season, registering 331 yards and seven touchdowns against Maryland, Clemson and N.C. State. Gardner, who had not scored a career touchdown until last season, gained over 100 receiving yards against Maryland (6-140) and Clemson (6-115) and added three scoring receptions against the Terps.
While running his 40 Monday, the good-natured Gardner was yelling as he crossed the finish line, saying he was going "to catch" the fleeted-footed Thorpe. In fact, the Seminoles' workouts had plenty of intensity, smiling and backslapping. Former players Abudal Howard and Chris Hope showed to work out and offer their support.
Linebacker Michael Boulware was third in the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds. Other efforts in the 40-yard dash included a 4.63 Greg Jones and 4.69 by freshman running back Lorenzo Booker. Defensive end Eric Moore ran a 4.77, Chris Rix was the fastest quarterback with a 4.61 and Stanford Samuels was the fastest defensive back at 4.56 seconds. Offensive lineman Brett Williams clocked a 5.1.
"I am very pleased -- running a 5.1 coming off knee surgery, I will take it," said Williams, who clocked a 4.9 in high school. "That's the first time I've been timed in the 40 in over two years, so I am very happy. I felt good out there."
Boulware also led the team with a 1.51 in the first 10 yards and was one of at least eight players who ran it in 1.56 seconds or faster. The 10-yard dash is considered the best way to measure football speed. No player ran faster than 1.56 seconds in the first 10 yards last year.
Other 10-yard times included Rix (1.52), Samuels (1.54), cornerback Leroy Smith (1.54) and safety Jerome Carter (1.55). The full list of results in the 40-yard dash and vertical jump will be released Tuesday. Players will also be tested in lifts Tuesday.
The top vertical jumps were accomplished by defensive back B.J. Ward (42 inches), running back Ryan Reynolds (41) and Michael Boulware (39).