December 26, 2012

Gardner readies for Wake

Bailey (NC) Southern Nash offensive tackle Cameron Gardner, who was the Demon Deacons first 2013 commitment, is lifting weights, conditioning and will be throwing the shot-put for to stay in shape and prepare his body for Wake Forest and rigors of college football.

The 6-foot-6 and 270-pound Tar Heel State product, who is rated as a three-star recruit by Rivals.com, dislocated his thumb in the middle of the season. He played one game with a cast, but had a negative reaction to a medication and was forced to miss three games. He returned for Southern Nash's playoff game, a 28-7 loss to Wilson (NC) Hunt. The Firebirds finished 9-3.

"We went out strong," Gardner said. "I thought I played good. I just did what my coaches told me to do. I played with my heart. I tried to play for my team and my family."

Gardner will enroll at Wake Forest in July for summer school and pre-season workouts, and plans to pursue a business-related degree.

"I'm just excited about playing football and getting a good education," Gardner said. "That's something a lot of guys don't get, so I'm blessed to get that."

"It's a beautiful campus. Everything is right there. We had a few questions along the way and you could just stop somebody and ask them, so they're real nice people. It's a great place to be at."

He will most likely redshirt unless he can contribute right away.

Gardner said Wake Forest offensive line coach Jonathan Himebauch told him he could go in at a couple of positions, but offensive guard or offensive tackle will be his likely destination.

"[Himebauch is telling me] just to get ready and be safe with everything and then just go in and work hard whenever I get there," Gardner said. "It's going to be the next level, so I have to keep it up."

The best and most logical fit for Gardner at Wake Forest appears to be left guard. However, players are often moved around at the collegiate level, so it is not inconceivable to think Gardner could see action at other positions on the offensive line depending on team needs, depth, the progress he makes and the development of others.

He thinks his quickness will help him at the next level.

Gardner is getting to know the other incoming freshmen, who will battle with him up front in the trenches.

"They're [Taylor Chambers, Josh Harris, Cory Helms and Eric Tetlow] some big guys," Gardner said. "They're great guys, so I think maybe two or three years down the road we're going to be a force to reckon with I think."

He added most of those guys will be making their official visits to Wake Jan. 17-18.

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