Courtney Gardner Interview
Jr. / Sierra College / WR

Updated - 3-29-13

By: Alex Khvatov


Alex Khvatov:  What are your measurements (height, weight and forty time)?

Courtney Gardner:  At the Pro Day, I was 6’3, 218.  I am about 220 right now.  I ran a 4.51 and a 4.55 at the Pro Day. 


Alex Khvatov:  Were you satisfied with your Pro Day results?

Courtney Gardner:  I think that I did a little better than average.  I was happy with the results.  I wish that I could have put up some better numbers.  But some days are just like that.  I had a good showing catching the football and running routes for the scouts.        


Alex Khvatov:  What is the overall feedback that you have received from scouts and coaches?

Courtney Gardner:  I am getting positive news right now.  A lot of teams have been doing a lot of research on me.  They like me a lot.  I am going on a few visits.  I have received good feedback.  I am just trying to get better every day. 


Alex Khvatov:  When you were coming out of high school, what programs showed interest in you? 

Courtney Gardner:  A lot of programs showed interest in me.  I was committed to the University of Nevada as a sophomore coming out of high school.  I was recruited by the Pac-10 before it was the Pac-12.  A lot of Mountain West schools had interest in me.  I also had some smaller schools. 


Alex Khvatov:  Why did you decide to go to a junior college?

Courtney Gardner:  I couldn’t pass my math efficiency out of high school, so I had to go to a Military Prep School out in Charlotte. 


Alex Khvatov:  How did you wind up at Sierra Community College in California?

Courtney Gardner:  A couple of my friends went to Sierra College out of high school.  I had visited them before I had graduated out of high school. 


Alex Khvatov:  Describe your career at Sierra College to us. 

Courtney Gardner:  I had a great career at Sierra.  I was an All-American.  I was the No.2 receiver in the nation behind Cordarrelle Patterson.  It seems like he will be the number one receiver taken in the draft this year.  I have put up some great numbers.  I had 7 FG blocks and 7 punt blocks.  I had 61 catches, over 1,000 yards and 13 TDs during my last season.  I had a pretty good career there.  I loved the program.  Jeff Tisdel is a pretty good coach.  He showed me a lot about how to play wide receiver. 


Alex Khvatov:  You were committed to go to Oklahoma.  You decided to forgo your final two years of eligibility and enter the draft, why did you make that decision?

Courtney Gardner:  It wasn’t so much about Oklahoma.  I didn’t finish the classes that I was taking in time, so I could to get to Oklahoma earlier.  We just had a mutual agreement with the coaches there to go a different route.  The best thing for me was to go back to school and finish my classes.  I tried to enroll in the summer, but my classes got dropped.  I decided to turn pro after my classes got dropped.  Financially, I just couldn’t pay for my classes. 


Alex Khvatov:  You definitely have an uphill battle on your hands coming out of the JC ranks, what were your expectations by entering the draft early?  

Courtney Gardner:  I knew that it would be a hard process.  But it has been a smooth ride for a few weeks.  It is not as bad as I thought that it was going to be.  I am really comfortable with my situation right now. 


Alex Khvatov:  Do you have any regrets about declaring early for the NFL Draft?

Courtney Gardner:  I don’t have any regrets.  Things happen for a reason.  I wish things could have been better with my classroom efforts.  But I am putting it behind me and I am moving on with this process. 


Alex Khvatov:  Where are you currently training for the NFL Draft?

Courtney Gardner:  I am in Reno, Nevada right now.  I am back in my home state where I went to high school.  I am working out with some local guys.  I am living with my cousin Duke Williams right now.  I am doing a lot of work with him as well.      


Alex Khvatov:  What is the coolest thing that you have gotten to do during this draft process?

Courtney Gardner:  I have gotten to meet a lot of NFL players during this process.  I have gotten to talk to them about everything.  I have gotten positive feedback and some negative feedback.  But everything has been good coming out of those guys that have been in the league for a long time.     


Alex Khvatov:  How does it feel to be a small fish in a large pond?

Courtney Gardner:  It doesn’t feel like I am in a huge pond at all.  It is not a big deal.  I have worked out with some of the top guys in this year’s draft.  I measure up completely fine against them.  I think that we are very similar.  They just come from big programs, and I come from a JC.  I get a lot of respect when people see me.  You have to see me first.  I am big, physical and fast.  It would look like I am coming out of the D-1 program at this point. 


Alex Khvatov:  What is the biggest obstacle facing you as you head into the NFL?

Courtney Gardner:  The biggest obstacle is just learning the playbook.  Coming from the JC ranks, our playbook isn’t so big.  I need to learn the offense and take the time in the film room.  I also need to get a feel for different types of defenses.       


Alex Khvatov:  What are your strengths on the football field?

Courtney Gardner:  I am very physical.  I surprise a lot of DBs with my physicality.  My speed is also good for a guy my size. 


Alex Khvatov:  What areas of your game do you need to improve upon?

Courtney Gardner:  I need to improve on everything.  I want to improve on how I come out of my breaks and running routes. 


Alex Khvatov:  What is the highlight of your football career?

Courtney Gardner:  Being an All-American.  I always wanted to have the big award and to show that all of my hard work has paid off.  I was the No.2 junior college player in the nation.  I was the No.1 player in California. 


Alex Khvatov:  Describe your cousin Duke Williams to us on and off the field. 

Courtney Gardner:  He was my cornerback in high school.  He is a great person.  We have great chemistry.  He is a very competitive guy.  We always have been competitive with one another.  He is a great athlete.  We get the best of each other.  He is very physical.  He just drives me to be better.    


Alex Khvatov:  What do you enjoy most about playing football?

Courtney Gardner:  I like the competitiveness.  Everyone wants to win, no one wants to lose.  It is the thrill of competing against other great athletes.  It drives me a lot. 


Alex Khvatov:  What is your favorite NFL team?

Courtney Gardner:  I like the Seahawks.  That is my team.  I love the way the DBs play on the team.  I always like watching their DBs.  They get aggressive with the wideouts. 


Alex Khvatov:  Which NFL player would you compare your game to?

Courtney Gardner:  A lot of scouts have been saying Justin Blackmon.  But I would compare myself to Julio Jones.  I am similar to him.  He plays so physical.  He looks mean out on the field. 


Alex Khvatov:  What are your hobbies?

Courtney Gardner:  Away from the football field, I enjoy going out with friends.  I like to go fishing and bowling.  I play golf.  I like going to movies.


Alex Khvatov:  What makes you a unique individual?

Courtney Gardner:  I don’t do much talking at all.  It would be seem like I would be the guy who will always talk out there.  But I will let my game do all of the talking.  I am more of a quiet type of guy. 


Alex Khvatov:  If you were an NFL team, which wide receiver would you select in this NFL Draft excluding yourself from the conversation?

Courtney Gardner:  I would pick Cordarrelle Patterson or Tavon Austin.  Those guys are amazing athletes.  Cordarrelle and I play a very similar style of football.  He was the No.1 guy over me when he was coming out of the JC ranks.  He showed at Tennessee that he was the top wide receiver.  I give a lot of respect to him.  I respect Cordarrelle Patterson for everything that he has done coming out of juco. 


Alex Khvatov:  Finish the sentence, Courtney Gardner is….

Courtney Gardner:  Big, physical and fast kid.  I love to get really aggressive and get into DBs heads.  I can do anything on the field to get things done.  Off the field, I am pretty laid back.  I enjoy everything that a normal person would like to do.  I like to interact with kids and help around the community.  I would like to go back to my old middle school and high school and tell the kids how hard my route is.  They don’t want to get in the position that I am in.  They need to focus on school and get things done.      


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