Source: Gardner will not join OU football team this fall
BY JOHN E. HOOVER World Sports Columnist
Monday, July 30, 2012
7/30/12 at 9:00 PM
Junior college wide receiver Courtney Gardner will not join the Oklahoma football team this fall, a source told the Tulsa World on Monday, but Gardner does expect to be part of the team when the spring semester begins next January.
ESPN.com reported that Gardner replied in a text message that he passed all his summer classwork but didn’t complete his last English class on time.
Gardner, an All-American at Sierra College in Rocklin, Calif., didn’t return messages from the Tulsa World on Monday but told the World in March he was still trying to finish three junior college courses and three online courses, and still faced some summer coursework. He said then he was confident he would be at OU in 2012, but also acknowledged the possibility that he might not.
“If I have to, then I would grayshirt,” Gardner said, referring to the practice whereby he would be in school (he will remain enrolled at Sierra for the fall semester) but would not be eligible to play or practice anywhere until next spring. “That’s passed through me and my coaches. We’ve talked about it a lot, and if I have to do it, I would do it and just stay next football season up here and just take two classes I’d have to redo or something and then come next year to Oklahoma.”
Gardner said if that happened, he would play for OU the 2013 season only, but he reportedly told ESPN.com that he expected to play two seasons in Norman.
The 6-foot-3, 224-pound Gardner, who played at Hug High School in Reno, Nev., after transferring from New Iberia, La., in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, caught 61 passes for 1,099 yards with 13 touchdowns last season.
Gardner failed one of Nevada’s four high school exit exams (math) five times, including once after going to prep school in 2009 in North Carolina (where he set Southern Tech school records with 972 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns).
The source, who is close to Gardner, said Gardner’s outcome was not surprising but said the progress he made and the amount of work to reach this point he did was “amazing.”
The source also said junior college wide receiver Lacoltan Bester’s eligibility would be formally approved soon and that Bester would be with the Sooners in 2012. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Bester made 76 catches for 1,042 yards and 17 touchdowns to help lead East Mississippi to the junior college national championship.
Rivals network website SoonerScoop.com reported that junior college offensive lineman Will Latu’s bid to join the team had fallen short because Latu didn’t pass the classes he needed. Also, SoonerScoop.com reported that offensive lineman Dylan Dismuke’s football career is over because of a “bone-on-bone injury” and that Dismuke would be placed on medical hardship.