Anthony Gardner names early five

Anthony Gardner, running back from Pleasant Grove, Ala., is a top prospect to watch for the 2011 class. He talked about the schools expressing interest, one SEC visit this fall, and named five favorites.

"I don't have any offers yet," said Anthony Gardner. "I am receiving mail from Alabama, LSU, Florida State, Vanderbilt and Syracuse. I have been trying to keep in touch on the phone with LSU, Southern Miss, Alabama, Auburn and Mississippi State."

"I would say my favorites right now are Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi State, LSU and Florida State. That is not in any particular order. I have only attended one college game this season. I went to the Auburn-Louisiana Tech game. I was supposed to go to Alabama-North Texas, but we had to reschedule our game. I will attend the LSU-Florida game."

Gardner talked about the five schools garnering his attention early in the process.

Alabama: "I feel at home there. They made me feel comfortable down there."

Auburn: "Auburn was the same. It's fun being down there. There are a lot of things to do. The coaches showed me a good time. I could make that my home."

Mississippi State: "I went down there once. I talked to the running backs coach [Greg Knox]. I toured the campus, and it was nice. It's very nice down there."

LSU: "I was speechless when I went down there. You always have something to do there. The school is excellent."

Florida State: "I haven't had the chance to visit Florida State yet. From what I have heard it's a pretty nice school down there."

The 5-foot-9, 170-pound prospect talked about the visit to The Plains at the beginning of the season.

"The visit was nice," Gardner said. "The coaches treated me nice. The players are pretty good. I loved the game. The crowd and everything was great. It was really my first big college game."

"I talked to coach Thig [Tommy Thigpen]. He was telling me I was a good running back, a scat back and have a lot of power. He said to keeping doing what I am doing. It's a real nice school down there."

Gardner has rushed for 862 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. Pleasant Grove is 2-3 and will play at home Friday night against Walker.

"My biggest strength is my vision," Gardner said. "I can see the hole before it appears. I am trying to improve on getting bigger."

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