SD 2011 Ranking : #42
Experience : Redshirt Junior
Strengths : Solid backup during his career who should be solid on special teams. Can also play the Star and Mike linebacker positions.
Weakness : Been stuck behind some great linebackers since the start of his Spartans career and needs more game time action at the linebacker spot.
Overall : Much was expected out of Gardiner coming out of high school. While he still has two years remaining, the fact Greg Jones and now Max Bullough are in front of him means he'll be a backup at the Mike position again this fall. However, Steve will also have a chance to battle Chris Norman for playing time at the Star position.
Why They Made The List : Talented player who is a solid athlete who should continue to provide solid special teams play while fighting to get more reps at either the Mike or Star linebacker positions. If Norman has injury problems or is not getting the job done look for Gardiner to be given a chance to be a starter.