October 26, 2011

Gardner gaining attention

It has been a long journey for Sierra (Calif.) Community College wide receiver Courtney Gardner but Division I college football is in sight.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder's road started in Reno, Nev., at Hug High School in 2009 and took detours through both prep school and junior college.

Gardner committed to Nevada as a sophomore in high school but failed the math portion of his efficiency test and was not allowed to enroll. He then took his talents to Southern Tech in North Carolina where he caught 16 passes for 385 yards and six touchdowns.

After leaving Southern Tech he was still unable to reach the qualifying score he needed and enrolled at Sierra Community College where he has spent the past two years.

As a freshman, Gardner hauled in 22 passes for 403 yards and five touchdowns. Already through seven games he has grabbed 39 balls for 777 yards and nine scores. Gardner is averaging 111 yards per game and leads the state in yards per catch at 19.92.

"The season has been going pretty good," Gardner said. "We've had a couple of ups and downs. We've got a freshman quarterback and some injuries that have happened to the team. But for the most part our offense is looking pretty good and we're starting to get up to par with things. Our defense is starting to pick up the tempo a lot."

Gardner's productivity this season has landed him scholarship offers from Arkansas, California, Iowa State, LSU, Nevada, Utah and Washington among others.

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