May 9, 2008

2010 QB Gardner will be one to watch

It is never too early in the process to start talking about class of 2010 recruiting and even though the coaches are not permitted to extend written offers or even contact rising juniors at this point of the season you better believe that schools are aware of who some of the big targets are. Quarterback Devin Gardner is one of those kinds of targets and schools around the Big Ten are taking notice of the 6-foot-4, 196-pound dual threat.

Gardner played in the last five games of his sophomore season and passed for in the neighborhood of 1,000 yards while accounting for 475 on the ground and a total of nine touchdowns (5 pass, 4 rush). While it might be early to try and draw comparisons to another famous dual threat quarterback in Terrelle Pryor there is no denying that the potential ceiling is high for the Michigan signal caller and teams have taken notice.

The junior-to-be jumped at the chance to take part in the Columbus NIKE camp on Friday afternoon and show what he was capable of doing against many of the Midwest's top players and after the camp Gardner was happy to have been a part of it and go against players a grade ahead of him.

"It was really nice and a lot of competition," Gardner said. "I like to be competitive so that was a good thing."

Gardner felt good with his outing and was in a joking mood after the four hours of drills and instructions that took place at Ohio State's Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

"I feel that I did exceptionally well (laugh)," Gardner joked. "I threw really good balls and completed a lot of passes and I had a good connection with a receiver from my school in Cameron Gordon so that was good."

Not everything went perfectly for Gardner who did draw the ire of one of the position coaches to keep on pushing and not rest on his talents alone.

"The instruction was really good and it was tough too," Gardner said. "One of the (coaches) was really tough and I like that. He was pushing me to do better and improve my arm."

Gardner is not the only Division I (FCS) athlete at his school with class of 2009's Cameron Gordon and class of 2009 athlete Alan Freeman.

"A lot of schools have been coming to my school and talk about myself, Cameron and our running back Alan Freeman," Gardner said.

The Ohio State coaching staff has paid a visit to Detroit (Mich.) Inkster high school to check in with the coaches about Gardner along with several other schools.

"Michigan has come up as well as Michigan State and Cincinnati said they would be coming up this next week," Gardner said. "Purdue and a few other schools have shown a nice interest in us as well."

With what seems like an eternity between now and National Signing Day 2010 does Gardner have any favorites for where he would like to play?

"Ohio State, Michigan and Purdue," Gardner said.

Gardner's childhood favorite school is not one that one would expect for a kid growing up in Michigan. He didn't support the Maize and Blue or the Green and White when he was young and instead pulled for a team that is considered to be sacrilege within the borders of Michigan.

"(Ohio State was) my favorite school when I was growing up," Gardner admitted.

The Michigan quarterback knew from an early age that the Ohio State system that he saw on television was a good match for the athletic talents that he possessed.

"They mixed the spread with running the ball, throwing the ball and everything," Gardner said. "Michigan was mostly just a run offense."

Friday marked the first time that Gardner had set foot on the Ohio State campus and check things out. He admitted that he was impressed with what he saw and commented on how big the campus was.

"This is my first time," Gardner said. "Not sure if I am going to have a chance to look around more but I want to before heading home."

If Gardner were to ultimately choose Ohio State it would be two years into the Pryor's career in Columbus. The Detroit star laughed and said that he wouldn't be scared of trying to follow up a player with the billing of Pryor.

"I think I can be just as good anybody," Gardner said. "As long as I work hard and keep working hard, that is what I got to do."

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