JUCO LB hearing from Huskies

Yet another junior college linebacker has been contacted by someone from the Washington coaching staff. Snow College's Clifford Gardner, who plays in the middle for the Badgers, is a playmaker who loves to strike fear in the ball-carrier and he got in touch with Dawgman.com and informed us of how the season is progressing so far and how recruiting is going.

"Our team is doing really well right now," Gardner said proudly. "We have great team chemistry right now. We don't have any individual players right now, just a lot of team guys. We're 6-1, actually 7-1 now because Pima has cancelled all of their games, and we're really starting to roll."

Gardner has been outstanding in his own right, posting 48 tackles, one touchdown on a fumble recovery, one interception, four tackles for loss, one sack and two forced fumbles.

"The touchdown was only a six-yard return," Gardner said humbly. "Our strong safety caused it because the back cut back – that was supposed to be my tackle."

So does Gardner think every tackle is supposed to be his?

"Of course," Gardner said with a maniacal laugh. "I like to strike fear into the ball-carrier. Our coaches really want us to focus on bringing it every play. We all try to ‘kill' the ball-carrier every time they come into our area.

"That doesn't mean we aren't disciplined and controlled. It's controlled chaos and we just want to go out and execute."

On the recruiting front, Gardner is just starting to garner interest from some of the bigger schools in the country. Out of high school, Gardner committed to South Carolina State a Division 1AA school that was relatively close to his home in Frostproof, Florida.

"I committed to them and was fully qualified, but some of my friends said that that wasn't a good option for me," Gardner admitted. "So I decided to go the junior college route so I could get some more offers if I developed myself."

And develop he has. Gardner is a solid 6-1, 241 pounds, runs a 4.68 electronically-timed forty, a 31-inch vertical and has a 420 pound bench max (24 reps of 225).

Gardner claims only one offer at this point, from UNLV, but he is hearing a lot from Arizona, New Mexico and most recently Washington as well.

"About two weeks ago my coach sent out a bunch of tapes and the Washington coaches called right after that," Gardner said. "They called to talk to me earlier this week and I just haven't called them back, but I'm definitely planning on it."

So what is it that intrigues Gardner about the Huskies so much?

"I really like coach (Tyrone) Willingham," Gardner said. "I don't think he got a fair chance at Notre Dame. Washington is a big-time school on my list and I am really going to look hard at them.

"Location really doesn't matter to me all that much because it's just me and my mom. She just wants me to find a good school where I can play, get a degree and get a scholarship. That's all she cares about."

Gardner has three years to play two and will graduate with his AA in December. He plans to make a decision quickly once he takes a few visits. Keep an eye on this playmaker from the JC ranks.

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