Gardner and Gators mutually impressed

His name is just starting to get out there. Jacksonville (Fla.) Atlantic Coast receiver David Gardner has the tools to be a big time college football player. At 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds he can play both ways ad does. Gardner camped at Florida on Monday and came away impressed with the trip. The Gator football staff was also impressed.

After the camp, David Gardner walked over to the football offices at The Swamp and talked to offensive coordinator Kurt Roper while his father (David also) chatted with head coach Will Muschamp.

"I talked to Coach Roper and my dad talked to Coach Muschamp," Gardner said Thursday evening. "Coach Roper said that I did an excellent job and he really likes me and he would be sure to keep in contact.

"My dad said that Coach Muschamp said they really like me on both sides of the ball and basically as an athlete."

Gardner was nearly beside himself as he competed on Monday.

"The experience to go up there with my teammate was just such a blessing," he said. "I have been a Gator fan ever since I was in Pampers. If I do get that offer, it really would be a blessing and a dream come true. I am just thankful for everything.

On defense he would likely play safety, but it was offense he worked the most on Monday. Ex-Gator assistant Joker Phillips liked what he saw.

"Coach Phillips really liked what I did and how I used my hands and ran my routes," Gardner said. "He liked my long stride, my speed, and my athleticism on both sides of the ball."

Two days later Coach Phillips resigned at Florida and it really caught Gardner off guard.

"I was sleeping," he said when the news broke in the afternoon on Wednesday. "I just finished my on-line school class. I was just there on Monday and Coach Phillips and I just had a great conversation. I was trying to figure out what was going on with him resigning.

"Now they're saying that Chris Leak is the receivers coach and I know he's a good guy. He's been there and won a national championship for the Gators. He's been around the program for a long time. I think he will be a great fit for the Gators coaching staff."

Gardner has a handful of offers already and will certainly get more. He thinks another is coming early next week.

"I have four offers… Maryland, UAB, Florida International, Eastern Michigan, and I will be on campus at FAU on Monday," he said. "The head coach told me they were going to offer me when I get on campus."

He likes what is going on at FAU and they are busy putting together a really nice 2015 recruiting class.

"They are making a big step," he said of the Owls. "Dan Shula, the receivers coach, I talked to him last night,. He is a great guy and has a great personality. They are building a good program down there and I am very interested in those guys."

Gardner isn't ready to limit his options yet and claims no leaders.

"As of right now, everyone is even and I am keeping my options open," he said. "When it comes time I will sit down with my family and make the best decision for me and my family."

He does know what he is looking for when that decision time finally comes.

"Growing up in my parent's house hold they always preached education first, so the education is important," he said. "The next thing is a family environment, on campus and with the coaches. I want to go to a University where I can tell my mom and dad that it is what I really like. Not call them and tell them I want to come home because it wasn't what I thought it would be. I also want a place that fits my style of play. I want a spread offense. I can play in the slot or out wide. That is what I am looking at."

Late Thursday Gardner and his father decided they would make another trip to Gainesville on Friday (today). The Gators are really on their minds… and it seems the same for Florida.


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