Junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater announced on New Years Day that he will forgo his final year of eligibility and enter the NFL Draft, where he has been projected as a potential number one selection.
"I can't express how much my time at Louisville has meant to me," Bridgewater said. "These past three years have allowed me to mature as a person and leave the university as better person and with my degree in hand, which was one of my goals."
Bridgewater, who tied a school record by directing the Cardinals to 27 wins during his three years as the starting quarterback, threw for 9,817 yards during his career, which is third most in the U of L history. His 68.3 completion percentage set a new school-record.
The record-setting quarterback now leaves the reigns to another, with redshirt freshman Will Gardner holding the inside track for the job.
A product of Douglas, Ga., the 6-foot-5, 200-pound Gardner was listed as one of the prospects in the Peach State as a senior.
He appeared in six games during the regular season, throwing for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns. He completed 66.7 of his pass attempts.
"It has felt great to be able to get out there and get my feet wet," Gardner told Cardinal Authority. "It's great to be able to get reps to help prepare for the future."
Being an understudy to one of the nation's premier quarterbacks has boosted the development of Gardner.
"I sit back and watch him and try to learn, so I can grow from that and carry it on to next year," he explained. "He helps by showing how to manage the game and convert the down and distance. He always knows what is going on, so he is great to learn from, especially in how to manage the game without turnovers and things like that."
While his role for next year is still to be determined, the odds of Gardner being behind center when the Cardinals enter the ACC next season are high.
"It's exciting to think about it, but right now I'm just trying to focus on the moment and better myself everyday without looking to far ahead."
Louisville also has freshman Kyle Bolin and junior Brett Nelson on the current roster and incoming freshman Reggie Bonnafon will also be available.