Steve Helwagen caught up with Gardiner for more .
Dublin Coffman linebacker Steve Gardiner attended Ohio State’s first senior advanced camp on Sunday.
Gardiner (6-1, 210, 4.44) is starting to gain some interest in recruiting circles. He was hoping his performance at the camp would help his cause to gain an OSU scholarship offer.
“(OSU linebackers coach Luke) Fickell and I talked for a little while after the camp,” Gardiner said. “He told me they were so low on scholarships. He said they may only be able to give out 15. He said he would keep an eye on me and keep in communication with me.”
Gardiner enjoyed the chance to participate in the Ohio State camp.
“There were a lot of guys there,” he said. “I thought it was run pretty well. I thought it was a good camp.”
Gardiner said he also liked the chance to work directly with Fickell on his game.
“I think he’s a great coach and a great guy,” Gardiner said. “We have had a chance to get to know each other. I was at their camp last year and now at the camp this year. He also comes by our school pretty often.”
Gardiner reflected on his day at the OSU camp.
“After we registered, we just went straight into testing,” said Gardiner, who was timed at 4.51 seconds in the 40 at the OSU camp. “This is where we ran 40s and did the broad jump. Then, we broke up into position groups with the linebackers and the safeties. We did a bunch of position drills. As linebackers, we practiced our drops. We did all of the normal stuff we would do in practice, except it was without pads.
“We had a lunch break. Then we came back and we had agility stations. We did some one-on-ones. Obviously, the linebackers were against the running backs. That was probably the best part.”
As a junior, Gardiner started at both running back and linebacker for Coffman. He helped lead the Shamrocks to a 9-4 record and a berth in the Division I regional finals. Coffman’s season ended with a 28-20 loss to eventual state champion Hilliard Davidson.
“It was a lot of fun,” Gardiner said. “That was the farthest any of the guys on our team had ever been in the playoffs. It was fun, but it still ended a little sooner than any of us wanted it to.
“We’re hoping to go farther this year. There is that feeling that we did not fulfill all of our goals last year. We want to try to do that this year.”
On the season, he rushed for over 1,000 yards and scored 11 touchdowns. Defensively, he had 130 tackles and two interceptions. He played as the inside linebacker in a 4-3 defense.
“I think my best attributes would be my speed and agility,” Gardiner said. “I don’t think many linebackers are as quick or as fast as me. I think that speed is an intangible.”
At Coffman, Gardiner is a teammate of two 2008 Ohio State commitments in offensive lineman Mike Adams and wide receiver/tight end Jake Stoneburner.
“I think it would definitely be a dream to be able to join those guys at Ohio State,” Gardiner said. “It’s not only the two guys they have who are on my team but also everyone else.
“It seems like everyone who is committed to Ohio State, they are all friends and it’s one big family.”
Gardiner has offers from West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Indiana and Oklahoma State.
“Right now, I’d say my top schools are West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati,” Gardiner said. “Obviously, those three have offered. I also like Ohio State and Michigan State, who have not offered me.
“I am going to West Virginia for camp this Sunday and to Michigan State June 22.”
Gardiner carries a 3.4 GPA and scored a 23 on the ACT.