QB Will Gardner commits to Louisville over Alabama and Mississippi State

QB Will Gardner

QB Will Gardner

Will Gardner, a 6-foot-5, 214-pounder quarterback from Coffee High School, committed to Louisville over offers from Alabama, Mississippi State and Southern Miss on Monday. He also had serious interest from Florida and N.C. State, according to his coach.

“Will went and visited all of those places, and he felt the most comfortable at Louisville,” Coffee coach Ken Eldridge told the AJC. “He’s really improved since last season. He’s the type of quarterback where the sky is the limit. We’re talking about a kid who is totally dedicated and committed to getting better. He’s a legit 6-5, and has put on 18 pounds since last season. He’s also dropped his 40 speed from 4.73 to 4.63. And, of course, he has a cannon for an arm.”

Gardner threw for around 1,400 yards and 14 TDs last year as a junior at Coffee, which runs multiple offensive formations including the Wing-T, Option and Spread offenses. “Everybody talks about Will’s arm,” Eldridge said. “But he’s got some good legs, too. If you don’t respect him, he’ll make you pay by running with the football.”

Gardner and Wayne County’s Greyson Lambert are considered the state’s top college football prospects at QB for 2012. Ironically, both squared off against each other last season, with Coffee prevailing over Wayne County with a 42-27 win. The two teams will play again this season. Because there are so few D1 QBs out of Georgia, it is very rare for them to play head-to-head during the high school season.

Greyson Lambert said he was offered early by UGA, but said he was later told that the Bulldogs didn’t plan on signing a QB in 2012 (click on story link)


  • How committed is a Georgia RB to Alabama? So much that he cut the “A” in his head (click on story link)
  • There were some surprises when some of Georgia’s top prospects were clocked in the 40-yard dash at Nike camp (click on story link)
  • Who is the best dunker in Georgia history? State your case by going here
  • Which elite prospect was UGA’s head coach watching on the first day of the NCAA contact period? (click here for story)
  • An NCAA investigation is stalling one of Georgia’s top defensive ends (click here for story)
  • A Georgia football coach, who inspired many with his attitude toward a terminal illness, resigns (click here for story)
  • After attending Mark Richt camp, offensive lineman commits to SEC school (click here for story)
  • One of the state’s top DBs will pick between UGA, South Carolina and Vanderbilt — and sported a Gamecocks baseball cap at football camp on Monday (click here for story)
  • Georgia State vs. Georgia Southern fans in an epic message board war right here
  • Georgia’s “fastest football recruit” (click here for story)

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog Got a recruiting item? mcarvell@ajc.com


Note: Inappropriate BLOG comments and personal attacks will NOT be tolerated. We love the lively discussions but hate-filled, harassing and irresponsible comments are unacceptable.

Follow me on Twitter @RecruitingAJC

78 comments Add your comment

Lou Card

July 11th, 2011
6:05 pm

Beast from the East

July 11th, 2011
6:09 pm

Good for Charlie Strong! If he can get some elite players, then watch out! That guy was long overdue for a head coaching gig.

You're my Boy Blue

July 11th, 2011
6:31 pm

Saban didn’t really want him anyway. Good luck in the Big Least.


July 11th, 2011
6:43 pm

i don’t even need to mention the reason why charlie strong is not coaching in the SEC. if CMR fails this year, he should absolutely, positively, and unequivocally be the #1 choice..NUFF said!!!!

Beast from the East

July 11th, 2011
7:07 pm

Wouldn’t that be weird? An ex-Dawg coaching the Gators and an ex-Gator coaching the Dawgs. I know Charlie is not an alum but he was with us in Gainesville for a number of years.


July 11th, 2011
7:18 pm

Your My Blue Boy,

Tell me that you just typed that in Jest. Saban doesn’t go after somebody if he doesn’t want them. By your account, Saban was just playing around I guess. LOL. Lord, some of the comments on these blogs do leave you shaking your head. Most likely this kid felt more comfortable in a smaller school setting as at some of the bigger schools, kids get lost in the shuffle.


July 11th, 2011
8:02 pm

Saban swings and misses. Can’t close. Suck it.

Paul N Destin

July 11th, 2011
8:23 pm

Nick offers a lot of folks but only the ones he wants does he give the ok to commit early. Good Luck Will. The Keil kid is the QB Bama is taking and he is the #1 guy. It’s possible we take two but Jamis Winston will not come due to Keil thus he is FSU bound. Lambert is the other possible QB for Nick.

Look for the AU Tigers to get a 2nd HBO show and a new Yahoo report….the show is about to begin in the cheat hole of college football. Need not think this is all due to Bama for there is many many teams, AD’s and conference folks involved in this process. College football will be much better when this all ends. These events will show what an inferiority complex the Auburn mafia has and it went over the clift when Nick Saban was hired at Bama. If you can’t compete then cheat but 1st and foremost you must not let your #1 rival have the spotlight over and over no matter what. That is the true auburn creed. Enjoy AU …you’re about to learn the true meaning of “ALL IN”.


July 11th, 2011
8:46 pm

Is Charlie Strong is a good coach? Yes.He will never be Georgia’s coach.Yes, for all the reasons you think. Is this wrong? Yes. Will it change. It has some, but not completely. Kirby Smart will be Georgia’s next coach. He will be the third or so call.


July 11th, 2011
8:48 pm

Gardner would have been a great Bama QB. Can’t get em all. Wish him the best! ROLL TIDE ROLL.


July 11th, 2011
8:49 pm

Kirby is burning his UGA bridge.

Dr. Phil

July 11th, 2011
9:15 pm

It is nice to see a kid reject the hype and pressure and make his own decision. Good luck to this young man.


July 11th, 2011
9:16 pm

Was confused… couldn’t figure where Coffee High SChool was. Finally looked it up and looks like the “County” was left out. I figured it was Coffee High School in DOuglas , Ga. and it was. Michael you need a proof reader or you need to get up to speed on the names of the high schools in Georgia.

Michael Carvell

July 11th, 2011
9:17 pm

@pogo, thanks for your comment. I thought it was Coffee County High School, too. But it is Coffee High School, and here is the link to the school’s website … http://coffeecounty.ga.schoolwebpages.com/education/school/school.php?sectionid=2


July 11th, 2011
9:19 pm

Congrats on your commitment to UofL. Work hard and good things will come to you up there.

Real Problem

July 11th, 2011
9:21 pm

Paul….do you really believe Gunner is going to Bama? If it is indeed down to Bama and Indiana I must admit I would push my son to the Tide. Not a Winston fan at all….looks like a QB that might drive Saban crazy. For the record, if Gunner goes to the Tide, I think he will be the most important recruit in Saban’s short time at Bama…..watch other offense players to follow.

Pago Pago DAWG

July 11th, 2011
9:23 pm

Word on the street Bama was starting to back off. U of L was the only school left for him.


July 11th, 2011
9:27 pm

Congratulations to him. I hope he does well and Charlie Strong will be running circles around UK in a few years. Kentucky, like Vanderbilt, just can’t compete in SEC football. He won’t get a chance to play for a National Championship at Louisville, but obviously he and his family thought this was the best choice for him.

Deep South Sooner

July 11th, 2011
9:30 pm

@ Paul N Destin glad you got the inside scoop on the Kiel kid. The problem is, he hasn’t committed to anyone yet. But, I’ll be checking in with ya for the latest news on him. Please keep your source close.


July 11th, 2011
9:34 pm

After the stinker CMR lays on you guys this year you’ll be begging for Kirby…and you’ll be getting a good one. He is a loyal Bama coach but he is a Bulldog thru and thru. I dare say he’s done more for UGA than you Lasso.

tdawg in Stockbridge

July 11th, 2011
9:37 pm

Coffee High Trojans- home of Andre ‘Pulpwood’ Smith, Riccardo Ingram and Willis Crockett. Go Trojans Go!!!


July 11th, 2011
9:44 pm

No, we’ve done about the same. I was just as good a safety as he was at UGA. And I didn’t play.

Hold up

July 11th, 2011
10:29 pm

T-Dawg, does it really matter brah?

You're my Boy Blue

July 11th, 2011
10:47 pm

RedandBlackDAWG I wasn’t saying anything in jest. Bama showed some interest early but there are bigger fish in the pond to go after so to speak. Believe me, if Saban wanted him he wouldn’t have lost him to the ‘ville.


July 11th, 2011
11:01 pm

You’re my boy blue,

You said Saban didn’t want him anyway. And I am sure that Saban doesn’t just throw out fish hooks so to speak and hope to get a nibble. If the kid had said he would go to Alabama, Saban would have taken him. With his size, I am sure he has a lot of potential. You never know, Saban and his staff may have been able to develope it.


July 11th, 2011
11:09 pm

Carvell, you were a lot more civil to Pogo than I would’ve been. Gardner can play, wish him well at Lville. Where were all of these Bama fans during the Shula years? Are there no newspapers to comment on in Alabama? I grew up an Alabama fan. I still love the program but the “fans” will absolutely drive you away with their idiocy.

[...] BREAKING NEWS: Coffee County QB Will Gardner commits to Louisville over Alabama, Mississippi State and Southern Miss (click on story link) [...]

[...] QB Will Gardner Updates: Gardner has an Alabama offer QB Will Gardner commits to Louisville over Alabama and Mississippi State | AJC College Sports Recrui… Will Gardner, a 6-foot-5, 214-pounder quarterback from Coffee High School, committed to [...]

[...] Gardner, from Coffee High School in Georgia, gave the Cards several shots of expresso Monday with an oral commitment for the Class of 2012. He picked U of L and had offers from Alabama, Mississippi State and Southern Miss. Florida and North Carolina State were also showing considerable interest, according to this story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. [...]

Columbus Dawg

July 12th, 2011
7:44 am

Michael, have you heard any thing on Jordan Jenkins? I have watched him play, my nephew plays wide receiver on Harris county team, says Jenkins is keeping it close to the vest. Just wondering what is the latest with him.

Recruiting | MrSEC.com

July 12th, 2011
8:21 am

[...] signing class.-Here’s another 2013 prospect gaining attention. Florida is an early favorite.-Quarterback Will Gardner chose Louisville over a couple SEC [...]


July 12th, 2011
8:53 am

“Wouldn’t that be weird? An ex-Dawg coaching the Gators and an ex-Gator coaching the Dawgs”

That’s the way Georgia and Auburn was in the 70s/80s with Dooley and Dye.

[...] Georgia QB picks Louisville over Alabama and Mississippi State (click on story link) [...]


July 12th, 2011
11:09 am

As Dickie V. would say ” a little P.T. baby”. Playing time probably meant the most, good luck Will. RTR


July 12th, 2011
1:42 pm

Saban lets another GA kid get away

Gardner Fan

July 12th, 2011
1:49 pm

You’re my Blue Boy, he CHOSE the ville over the other schools, because he’d have to greater chance to go to the NFL. The last 5 QBs from Ville have went to the NFL. Will loves football and wants to make a career of it. Who blames him? If I had his height and an arm like that, I would too. How many players from Bama have went to the NFL in the past several years? The odds of making his football dream come true are better if he goes to Louisville. I say “More Power to him!” He’ll get a good education, and enjoy what he loves to do most…..playing football. Who is anyone to judge his choice?
I am originally an FSU fan, but because I LOVE WILL, I’ll be a CARDs fan for the next 4 years! Go WILL!! I know you’ll make Coffee County PROUD! We love you!! =)

Bobby Petrino

July 12th, 2011
2:09 pm

louisville eats wang!

Gardner Fan

July 12th, 2011
4:26 pm

Bobby Petrino, Opinions are like butt holes, everybody has one! Thanks for sharing yours. If you are not a Louisville fan or a Will Gardner fan, I suggest you move to another page, honey! Your comments might be better appreciated on a page where you can make positive comments! =)

MS. Bully

July 12th, 2011
5:13 pm

Good luck at Louisville. He wouldn’t stand a chance for the next 3-4 years at MS. State. Dylan Favre and Dak Prescott will be leading the Bulldogs after Chris Relf graduates.


July 12th, 2011
6:34 pm

Guys, these 2 QB’s are pretty good, but the best one could be entering his senior year at Mount Pisgah. Kyle Sloter is a true 6′5″ 205lb QB who runs a 4.7 forty. He only played half a season as a junior due to injury and that is why he is under the radar. In his first game back from injury, he came in down 7-0 with less than 2 minutes left and led his team on an 85 yd drive throwing the winning TD and pass for two to win.

Kyle has been a 4 year starter and threw for over 1600 yards as a freshman and last year threw for over 1400 yards while only playing half a year. He also threw for around 13 touchdowns playing only half a year.

Kyle has been at 2 of the camps (NC & Vandy), that Gardner went to and Gardner was not one of the 6 QB’s chosen to throw in front of the coaches.

Kyle has gotten a lot of interest from the camps. He was “Top Gun” at the FBU camp and he was invited to the Blacksburg, VA camp. The offers are going to start rolling in for Kyle Sloter! Keep an eye on him this year!

Albert Means

July 12th, 2011
7:37 pm

Should have chosen Bama


July 12th, 2011
8:59 pm

Not only does this guy have the talent and tools, but his “WILL” to win cannot be overlooked. Great kid, great family, and great future. Good luck and he’s the 3rd Trojan to go to Louisville.


July 12th, 2011
10:05 pm

Louisville??? Really? LOUISVILLE??


July 12th, 2011
10:05 pm

He knows this is a football scholarship and not a basketball scholarship, right?


July 13th, 2011
12:26 am

I think the last two Coffee High (GA) Trojans that went on to Univ. Of Louisville are or will be in the NFL


July 13th, 2011
6:42 am

Good get for UofL. Now the SEC better get on the ball and get Kyle Sloter signed before he goes out of state. He is having a great off season at camps and is the best prospect in the state. He will be a teriffic college player…has the size, the arm, the mentality and great command of the offense.


July 13th, 2011
6:46 am

Yes Louisville..we are on ther rise and getting good talenty from thre state of GA. Next maybe we will take Kyle Sloter since SEC schools seem unaware of this great talent in their own backyard. He will also probably be in the NFL someday.

QB Scout

July 13th, 2011
7:34 am

Thanks for the Kyle Sloter tip. Who is Mt Pisgahs toughest opponent?


July 13th, 2011
7:54 am

That I can’t answer. I know he attended the FBU (Football University) camp last month and was rated the highest QB in the camp by Chris Miller. Heck, Pitino will even take him on the basketball team in the off-season as he is an outstanding bball player as well. He should be the ‘one to watch’ at this month’s top gun event in WV.


July 13th, 2011
8:37 am

Who has offered this amazing QB so far?