RECRUITING: The next Marshall Faulk?

Virginia Beach running back Isaiah Garnder fits OU's offensive style pefectly


Gardner is the perfect combination of speed and power from the running back spot. A three-year starter, Gardner can either run over you are make you miss when he decides what he is going to do.

"I think I am a Marshall Faulk type of runner," said Gardner. "We run that type of offense too, where I am asked to do so many things for us. I can run in traffic or I can get outside, and I am always trying to attack when I am running with the football. I have good hands and that is also a major asset for me. My goal is to get a 1,000 yards rushing and a 1,000 yards receiving this year."

As a junior Gardner rushed a little over 1,100 rushing. Throw in an additional 360 yards receiving on 26 catches and two touchdowns and you have one of the most complete running backs in the country.

Gardner camped at Maryland and caused quite a stir in the camp. The running back coach, defensive back coach and wide receiver coach all wanted him in their drills. Gardner posted a 4.39 forty and a 37 ½ vertical in that camp as well. Gardner can bench 315 pounds, and he squatted 375 pounds three times.

Gardner has already received over 20 offers from schools across the country and he is in the process of narrowing his choices down before his season starts.

"I am interested in Georgia Tech, Michigan State, Michigan, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Clemson and Oklahoma," said Gardner. "I really don't have a favorite out of that group. I am still just looking at each school and trying to stay wide open."

"I like Oklahoma, because they have a good football program and I feel I can compete for the starting job if I went there because their starting running back graduates. I am looking to find a program that is a great football program, with cool coaches and where I feel comfortable. It's important that my role with the team is spelled out and that I have a chance to fit my skills into the program. It is not necessarily important that I play early, but I need to see a clear idea how I would fit into the program."

Gardner is qualified.

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