Last Wednesday's news that Bob Stoops was suspending three of Oklahoma's receivers indefinitely may have been just the extra motivation Courtney Gardner needed to get him through the long dog days of summer. It was widely suspected that Gardner could come to campus this summer and earn a starting spot this fall but with the recent suspensions that's exactly what Oklahoma needs him to do. They have to get him on campus first though!
A thousand yard receiver (13 Touchdowns) last year in the JUCO ranks, Gardner was a kid that everyone was in on. Well, maybe not everyone but Oklahoma beat out schools from the Big XII, the Big East, the Big 10 and the Pac-12 (14 in all) for his services. At 6-3/213 Gardner was ranked as a 4-star recruit by Rivals. He's blazing fast on the field (4.4/40 time) but his arrival to Norman could be painstakingly slow.
Oklahoma needs Courtney Gardner on campus as soon as possible to help fill the void left by suspensions.
While freshmen Trey Metoyer, Durron Neal and Sterling Shepard will all be on campus next month to participate in volunteer workouts, Gardner will still be trying to finish up at Sierra Community College. After taking twelve hours in the spring he now plans on taking six hours (two classes) this summer and is currently on track to be on campus at some point in July.
I know what you're thinking, and honestly I had the same thought as well, we've already lived through this with Trey Metoyer in 2011. Gardner has already stated that if for some reason he can't make it to OU this fall that he'll remain faithful to his Sooner commitment and will be on campus next spring. However, Oklahoma can't afford that this year!
The Sooners have Kenny Stills who will enter the fall as Landry Jones' top receiver (with the suspensions he's also the only receiver to catch a pass in major college football) and Trey Metoyer proved during the spring that he's going to be a lot more than a solid #2 at before his time is up at Oklahoma. Beyond that the Sooners have...well...um...two true freshmen and some new tight ends.
Neal and Shepard were stars as freshmen and I truly believe that they have bright futures at OU. That said, I'm not necessarily excited about there only being true freshmen as the other options to Stills. Having gone to prep school last year, Metoyer is a year removed from high school already but Neal and Shepard are attending their senior proms this month.
Gardner is the glue that could hold things together here. His presence would allow the Sooner passing attack to continue move on at a high level of success, even with the suspensions. His absence would leave a major void still there, with the impact of the suspensions being a major blow to the offense.
No pressure there, Courtney. Study hard just in case though!