Card QB Commit Will Gardner
I recently sat down with Will Gardner, our prize QB recruit from Coffee High School in south GA, and with his Coach Ken Eldridge. Will is a very impressive young man and Coach Eldridge is a complete class act. Everyone knows Will tore his ACL in the first game of his SR season…Will said “the running back fumbled, I tried to tackle the guy, planted and it popped”. End of season, but not end of story. We’ll cover rehab a little later. First let’s get to know Will.
What does Will Gardner bring to the field? For starters he brings a still growing 6’ 5” 200 plus pound body with 4.63 40 time. Coach Eldridge elaborated on that subject with several key points:
Intelligent Player: Knows how to read defenses…” A very smart decision maker and knows what to do with the football. We have very few plays where he does not have to read defenses. He had to make decisions almost every play ...the Louisville Coaches liked that”
Arm Strength: “He can throw balls that others couldn’t. He can just make the throws and he just knows how and when to do it. He doesn’t have a lot of kids out there who can catch it when he absolutely cuts it loose.”
Competitor: Always working hard to get better …ran track this year to get faster and stronger! “He actually ran hurdles for us this year and it wasn’t the prettiest thing out there but he got better and it definitely helped his feet and his hips. He was primed for a very big season”
Hard Worker: “He’s gonna work his butt off. When he gets there I think even they (UL Coaches) will be surprised by his work ethic”
Leadership: Making sure everyone is in the right place at the right time. “Offensive guys relied on him. If they forgot, he could tell them where they were supposed to be and what they were supposed to do.”
Will (right) and teammate
Modest: No ego issues “or his Daddy would put his foot up his rear end!”
Will is a 3 year starter at Coffee H.S. and they had spent the past two years building an offense around him, so it really sucked the wind out of the sidelines and the stands when he went down. As for rehab and recovery, Will went to Louisville for the operation at the Shea Orthopedic Group. They provided him with all the information he needs for rehab will be back to full strength “hopefully in 6 months”.
By the way, Will is not the first Coffee H.S. football player at UL. Remember Adrian Grady (2005 – 2008) # 94 and a very solid DT. Played an especially strong game for that stout defense in the Orange Bowl win over Wake Forest as he was credited with 3 solo tackles, 1 for loss, 1 forced fumble and 1 pass break up. So, why did Will select UL? The COACHES, of course, especially Coach Dugans and Coach Watson. Will said “It was the Coaches and I felt like I was at home, the way they treated you and all. It’s good to go somewhere you’re wanted.”
Will has been leading his football team in one of the most competitive football regions in the country. Coach Eldridge said “it’s fast & physical. You expect to get hit on every play of every game. No nights off down here”. Will’s OLine averages 6’3” and about 290lbs and they are JR’s. They also average straight A’s in the classroom. Some other D1 prospects on his team are the JR MLB, and a SR speedster scoring machine (scores 1 out of every 4 touches) by the name of Tyreek Hill “the most electrifying player I’ve seen” says Coach Eldridge and Will adds “I’ld like to see him at Louisville!”
Will and Tyreek Hill
Will currently plans to enroll in UL in June and will visit some with UL coaches to be properly prepared to hit the ground throwing. A final comment from Coach Eldridge was “Will is the kind of young man you wouldn’t object to dating your daughter”.
Will and Coach Eldridge, THANK YOU for your hospitality and candid conversation. Best of luck to both of you and we are looking forward to seeing Will in Cardinal Colors next year
Note: Photos from Will's facebook