It took Inkster (MI) quarterback Devin Gardner exactly eight seconds to wow the East Kentwood (MI) crowd. On the Vikings first play from scrimmage, Gardner got pressure from the East Kentwood defense so he pulled the ball down and took off down field.
He didn't stop until he crossed the goal line 66 yards later.
But the evening didn't continue with such ease for Gardner and the Inkster Vikings. The offensive line struggled to consistently keep East Kentwood defenders from hurrying many of Gardner's pass attempts—many of which were forced into coverage.
Gardner didn't get too much help from his receivers either. On two occasions in the first half, Gardner heaved up nice touch passes to the end zone only to see the ball slip through teammates fingertips and fall harmlessly to the turf.
The receivers finally did step up though, and Gardner was able to add three touchdowns through the air in a 19-30 passing performance. But the Viking defense could do nothing to stop the East Kentwood offense and the Falcons went on to win the game 52-33.
Gardner, a scout.com five-star recruit, showed that he has all of the physical tools needed to succeed at the next level. He was easily the best athlete on the field tonight and he showcased it on the 66-yard touchdown run. When the pocket collapsed, he stepped up and once he decided to run, he was gone. One, maybe two, defenders laid a single hand on him and he simply made the rest miss on his way to the endzone.
As far as the passing game goes, Gardner impressed me with his ability to put some nice touch on the ball, when given the time to do so. He showed good arm strength, but he relied on it too frequently, sacrificing mechanics and forcing the ball into coverage when he was hurried.
I didn't get the feeling that Gardner could step in and contribute for a big time program like Michigan right away, but if Devin's willing to put in the work at the college level, there's no question he could turn into a special talent for the Wolverines.