Sep 18, 2010, 3:00 PM EST
|Towson’s Jeremy Gardner|
Gardner Overcomes Injuries to Lead Tiger Defense
By Marvin Jones, TowsonTigers.com
Senior cornerback Jeremy Gardner of the Tigers has had a career plagued by injuries. During his first two seasons as a Tiger, he suffered a pair of season-ending ailments. Overcoming his battles with injury, Gardner has been a productive and impactful players.
As a freshman in 2007, Gardner started in the first eight games but was sidelined after suffering a season-ending injury at Colgate. In eight games, he compiled 30 tackles and tied for the team lead with four pass break-ups. His broken hand injury came just minutes after making the first interception of his career.
Although Gardner missed the remainder of the season, his spirits remained high and he was determined to get back on the field in 2008.
“Everything happens for a reason, but I will come back next year better and stronger,” Gardner commented.
The 2008 season ended the same way as the previous season. Gardner played in 10 games and started nine times. He made 30 tackles, broke up three passes and even spent time as the Tigers’ kick-off returner.
Unfortunately though, Gardner’s season ended abruptly with a knee injury at Delaware.
Gardner, who is normally confident and self-assured, was devastated by this injury because he doubted if he would ever play a full season.
“It was hard mentally,” he said. “In order to help my team and get all that I can out of football, I need to play a full season and unfortunately I couldn’t do that in my first two years.”
The 2009 season was unfamiliar territory for both Gardner and the entire team. Although the team went 2-9 under first-year Coach Rob Ambrose, it marked the first time in Jeremy’s college career that he played a full season.
Not only did Gardner play, but he played well. He started all 11 games and ranked eighth in the CAA among defensive backs with 64 tackles. He also led the team with four pass break-ups and even contributed on special teams.
Gardner attributes all of his success in 2009 to Coach Ambrose changing the team’s diet, allowing him to stay healthy.
“In previous seasons we weren’t eating right, but once Coach Ambrose arrived, he changed our diets and set up a schedule for us to eat,” Gardner said.
The Tigers play in an extremely tough conference, the Colonial Athletic Association, and have been at the bottom of the CAA standings for many years, but this will change with the arrival of Coach Ambrose.
“We never knew what it took to get through a full season, but Coach Ambrose has changed all of that,” Gardner said. “We are more prepared than we have ever been. Last season was just an adjustment period and we should do much better this year,” Gardner explained.
The 2010 season is filled with both uncertainty and promise for Gardner and the entire team. This is not only Gardner’s last season, but he expects it to be his best season. Coming off of his first full season of playing and having another year under the guidance of Coach Ambrose, Gardner should put up career best in every statistical category.
“We are expecting a big season from Jeremy,” says Ambrose.
Gardner is even predicting a big season, but not for himself, for the team as a whole.
“We will be successful,” he explained. “It may not be strictly in wins and losses, but we will continue to grow as a team and a program. As long as we continue to improve, we will be champions at the end of the season.”
No matter how this season turns out for Gardner and the team, his career after Towson is bright and full of potential success.
Many people, including Coach Ambrose, believe that Gardner has the skill, athleticism, and size to play in the NFL.
“He is incredibly talented and he has the size, strength, and speed to play professionally,” says Ambrose.
Gardner is excited about the possibly of playing at the professional level and is anticipating putting in the work to make his dream a reality after the Tigers’ season.
“I believe that the NFL is in my future, and I look forward to assessing where I am after the season, doing the work to improve my skills, and hopefully getting invited to some mini camps,” Gardner says.
Even if the NFL is not in Gardner’s future, he is a good student and is already beginning to make his mark in the business world.
“I have already graduated from school with a major in business administration and am taking graduate courses,” he said. “I am in the process of developing an athletic clothing line. I am also in the process of trade marking the brand and look forward to distributing the line at some point.
“It has been great the last two years,” Gardner adds. “I wish I had two more seasons to play for Coach Ambrose.”
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