Garner Is Camp Crazy

From a reporting perspective, this is a nice time to check in with football recruits after the busy and information-packed May evaluation period. But for Florida quarterback Jonathan Garner, the rat race is just getting started. He is in the thick of a busy camp schedule that will take him from coast to coast. Offers and attention are mounting, which raises the stakes in Stanford's recruiting efforts...

May was a pretty intense time for Daytona Beach (Fla.) quarterback Jonathan Garner. With the rich talent he and a handful of Division I-bound teammates possess at Mainland High School, ever major college in America made sure to drop by during the evaluation period. He picked up offers from Louisville, Ole Miss and East Carolina to go with his first two scholarships from Stanford and Memphis. In addition, he was told by the lead recruiting coaches at Ohio State and Marshall that offers are on the way as soon as the respective head coaches can watch his film.

The once sleepy recruitment of Jon Garner has awakened for sure, though the biggest moves may come in June. The 6'5" Sunshine State slinger is canvasing a slew of college camps that will generate news throughout the month. It already started last weekend when the Mainland man went to Oxford, Mississippi for two days of camping. Garner's father was the head coach at Southaven High School back in the boy's younger days, so the experience was a welcome one for many reasons for the quarterback.

"It was really homey there, seeing as how I used to live an hour and a half away," the quarterback recruit describes of his weekend at Ole Miss. "They have a great coaching staff. The weight program is amazing. And I really liked the way Coach Cutcliffe ran things and involved himself with the camp."

Garner had extensive interactions with the Rebels head coach and assistants during the weekend, with an emphasis on intense recruitment.

"I got to talk to Coach Cutcliffe during lunch, and Coach Roper took me into his office and we talked about the offense," the Florida signal caller continues. "It went well. [Roper] just played film for me and told me what he thought I could do with the offense. He told me I'd be a perfect fit. Coach Cutcliffe told me the same thing basically and said he really wants me there."

Ole Miss has consistently been in Garner's top three for the last several months, and this camp experience served only to intensify his feelings about the SEC school. The question, then, is if they showed well enough to vault into the #1 position in this hot quarterback's mind?

"Well, after I go to the Stanford camp I'll be able to base my top choice on that," he answers. "It's been a couple years since I've been up there, and they have a new coaching staff."

Garner is referencing his time two years ago at Stanford's camp in the June of 2002, when the spindly slinger had just finished his freshman year of high school. Since then the Cardinal have changed their offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, with Bill Cubit holding down both spots today. The offense has changed substantially as well, so Garner has plenty of questions he will bring to the Bay Area later this month when he returns to The Farm.

There is a wrinkle, however. His previous plans to attend all four days of Stanford's camp have been cut in half with his new invite to the Elite 11 final round tryout in Las Vegas, June 25-26. This select gathering of the nation's top prep signal callers is an esteemed honor for Garner, as it places him in the final group in consideration for the dandy dozen attendees at the Elite 11 Quarterback Camp later in the summer. Four of those 12 invites have been handed out, and the workouts in Vegas will be crucial in the final selections. Understandably, Garner is excited to grab the opportunity.

How unenthused are the Cardinal coaches, though, to have a prime quarterback recruit yanked from the campus for two days of a crucial unofficial trip?

"It's going to be cool with the [Stanford] coaches because I'm going to hang out with them on the 24th, go to Vegas and then go back for the last two days of camp," Garner reveals.

The Daytona Beach star recently spoke with Buddy Teevens when the Stanford head coach made Stanford's one allowed call during the May period. The call came on the 29th, with the intent of leaving one of the last impressions on Garner after a month filled with visitors and phone calls.

"He just told me that they'd really like me to come up there. It was really nice to have a coach call can just talk. We talked about some football, but most of our conversation consisted of 'what are you doing this summer' and stuff like that," Garner describes of his talk with Teevens. "It made me remember what I liked so much about Stanford. All the coaches are like that."

Teevens however did not get in the last word with the Sunshine State southpaw. Miami offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Dan Werner made a big call to Garner the very next day, which put the Hurricanes in the thick of this recruiting battle.

"He basically told me they've offered a few quarterbacks, and that I am most likely the next QB they're going to offer. He said that if I come to camp, Coach Coker could possibly offer me," Garner relates. "I was debating whether or not to go to Miami's camp because a few players on my team are. This basically solidified my decision to go."

Several observers in the state are tabbing Garner the top quarterback in Florida in this class, so it should come as no surprise that at least one of the "big three" in-state schools will make a play on this recruit. Here come the 'Canes. The next question forward-looking Cardinalmaniacs™ will want to ask is how will Garner's favorites list be affected if and when Miami comes through with a scholarship offer? Interestingly, he maintains today that his top trio of schools are still Stanford, Memphis and Ole Miss. It is remarkable that he has stayed steadfast with those schools, despite the new offers and entrées by the likes of Ohio State and Miami.

"I've held those schools up top because I've gotten to learn so much about each college that has come on early, which makes me like them a lot more," the recruit explains. "I'm sure Miami will be up near the top after I go to camp and find out more about their coaches and team."

In addition to the aforementioned schools, Garner says that he will camp at Tennessee, Georgia and LSU. He will attend a passing camp at Bethune Cookman as well. He discloses that North Carolina, Connecticut and Florida are also recruiting him with great vigor.

We'll keep you updated with all the latest updates and changes in Jonathan Garner's recruitment this next few weeks, including his momentous return to The Farm for Stanford's camp.

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