"I just got back (early Wednesday) from my visit (to Louisiana-Lafayette) and I loved it," Gardner told JCFootball.com. "It felt really good there and like it was the right place to go for me to continue my football career and for the academics.
"The defense they run there is a perfect fit for me and I really like the way coach (Charlie) Harbison runs the defense and the way coach (Mike) Lucas runs the linebackers, I just felt the most comfortable there and I feel like we'll be able to win a lot of games there."
As a prep, Gardner was one of the more sought-after linebackers in the Midwest before he decided to sign with Missouri.
"I enrolled there and was there for the (2015) season, but when the coaches all got let go, I just decided I wanted a fresh start and one of the GAs (Grad Assistants) from Missouri wound up down at Coffeyville, so I decided to go there," Gardner recalled.
As a redshirt freshman for the Red Ravens last season, Gardner posted 67 tackles, two sacks, eight tackles-for-loss, three fumble recoveries, one interception and two pass breakups.
"(ULL) wants me at the WIL (weakside) spot and I think that fits me and what I do really well," Gardner noted. "My instincts are really good and I think that's what sets me apart from other guys. I can make plays other guys can't because I read plays really well.
"I also prepare better than anyone I know. I study film and work on things all week long so it's like second-nature for me when I step out on the field for the game and I play a physical game. I like to hit guys and run through their face."
Gardner will finish up his two-year degree later this month and he will have three years to play three starting this fall.