But when Garner's body didn't transform into the tight end type, his talent, at the time, was too much to redshirt. Looking impressive during fall camp with his downfield blocking and route running, Garner was moved to the wide receiver rotation and has been on the cusp of getting his first playing time as a college athlete. Could it come this weekend in the final non-conference tune-up against Austin Peay?
"The best answer I can possibly give you is that I am a team player and if they call my number, so be it," Garner said. "It's that's how I can help the team, I'll be ready."
In a new series for subscribers, Badger Nation does a meet and greet with the newer members of the Wisconsin football team, shedding a light on some of the unknown kids that figure to be important parts of the Badgers' future.
Asking 15 questions, we call this segment the Freshman Fifteen.
What's been the hardest part for you adjusting to college life?
Garner:I feel the hardest part is having so much time on your hands. Being in college, you have so much time but at the same time, you have to balance your time. We're considered men now. You've got to balance yourself, carry football and academics because that's what we are up here to do. That's probably been the most challenging, keeping everything tight and complex.
What's been the hardest part adjusting to college football?
Garner:Early on, it was more mental because of the plays and everything comes at you so fast. I was trying to keep up with the older players because I saw how fast they were moving mentally and they were just knocking the plays down. Over time and during camp, everything slowed down. Now, it's much easier and things are much slower.
Since you arrived here, how have you changed your body to prepare for the college game?
Garner:Actually, it's strength. I didn't put too much on it terms of weight, I've stayed the same weight, but definitely strength. I've gotten a lot stronger since high school with way more muscle and just speed. Speed comes by adjusting to the speed of the game. These guys are out here flying and the trainers here, the one thing they push is speed.
How is Madison different than Pittsburgh? What's the biggest difference?
Garner:Madison is different because it's more of a college town in general. Pittsburgh's pretty big and it's a city with skyscrapers. Madison is more slower than Pittsburgh and definitely more of a campus-type town.
What is your major?
Garner:I am majoring in non-profit communications.
What are you hoping to do after college?
Garner:My number-one thing is I have always been a fan of helping the under privileged. I would like to open up a boys and girls home, just help the under-privileged children. We're definitely in a society that we live in today where a lot of people are looking for shelter. Money would be nice, but I am out there to help people. If God brings the money, so be it.
What's your favorite place on the Madison campus?
Garner:I love going to Ed's café (near the dorms). They make pretty good food and I like stopping between classes when I am hungry. The people in there are so respectful, so nice and they know we play football so they are always talking about football. It's nice.
What's your least favorite place on campus?
Garner:Right now … my dorm room during the day. I like to socialize and that would be the worst punishment my coaches would give me to be stuck in their all day.
What do you enjoy doing most in your free time when you get the chance to kick back and relax?
Garner:I love going out and meeting people. This is a big campus and there are a lot of new people. I like to hang with my friends and enjoy college life.
What music do you like to listen to, what TV shows do you like to watch and what food do you like to eat?
Garner:I am a history geek, so I love watching National Geographic. My favorite food would have to be pizza from Ed's. They make great pizza.
Who do you live with and how is that going?
Garner:I am living with Sherard Cadogan. He's an East Coast guy like me and he's a pretty cool dude. It's going great and we can relate to each other and respect each other. It's been awesome.
What's the most interesting thing you've learn about him since you starting living with him?
Garner: He's a very nice, kind-hearted dude but once it comes to the gridiron, he's an angry man (laughing).
Where does your biggest support come from? Family? Friends? Teammates?
Garner:My father most definitely, and my mother. They've been in my life for 18 years and they are able to relate to me on a different level. There are some things that I may gone through that my dad can't answer and I can go to my mother. There are some things that my mother can't answer and I have to go to my father. Just my parents in general. They have always been there for me and there's nothing I can't go to them about.
What's your parents reaction to you playing college football here, being on your own for the first time and starting your journey at this school?
Garner:My dad has always put it in me that I am going to become a man to be a man, you have to go out there and explore the world. He's always stated that ‘Garner' is a strong name and that I have to uphold that last name. If there's anything that I can uphold and hold strong other than my faith is my last name to make my family proud.
It doesn't have to be football related, but what do you feel has been the greatest accomplishment of your life?
Garner:It's definitely coming here. It's always been a life goal of mine to play college football. I play college football on Xbox when I was younger, and to actually experience it and run out on to that field is surreal. It's so funny because I was picturing myself doing it way back when that it feels like a part of me now.