Another player in the MAC has decided to take his talents to Sunday football as wide receiver James Gardner of the Miami RedHawks has declared for the NFL Draft yesterday in a post on Twitter that has since been deleted. Gardner was injured in the first half of the Minnesota game this season and had season-ending surgeries, which meant he had one year of eligibility in Oxford had he decided to go that route.
Gardner left behind an impressive legacy as one of the most prolific Miami receivers in recent memory. He is eighth in program history with 17 receiving touchdowns, ninth with 1,906 career receiving yards, 20th with 107 receptions, and 23rd with 17.8 yards per reception. He has been a big target for Miami with his 6-4, 217-pound frame and his play has helped establish Miami as a respectable opponent in the MAC.
As far as NFL scouts are concerned, Gardner has room to improve his game if he wants to be a complete receiver in the league. His length makes him an asset in jump-ball situations and he has proven that he has very reliable hands. However, his route running, his releases, his blocking ability, and his lack of elite speed makes him a concern for some scouts. If he tests well at the Scouting Combine, some team is going to see him as a valuable commodity in the middle rounds of the NFL Draft.