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Countdown to Virginia Football: #84 Ross Gardner

Virginia Media Relations

Position: WR/TE
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 220
Year: Redshirt Sophomore
Hometown: Mechanicsville, VA

Generally speaking, WR isn't a position that walk-ons get a lot of playing time. WR requires a lot of speed and athleticism and the guys who have that tend to get scholarship offers. The Hoos currently have 11 WRs on the roster, which includes 4 walk-ons and 1 converted TE. In addition, there are 3 WRs in the 2016 recruiting class.

That doesn't leave a whole lot of opportunity for a guy like Ross Gardner. Fellow walk-on WR Ryan Santoro saw some action this past season, and even had a big 34 yard reception against Notre Dame. Santoro is now a senior, so if a walk-on WR is going to be a part of the offense, it's going to be him.

That's not to say Gardner isn't good. He's a big target who would probably be best used as more of a TE than WR. He's just not fast enough to be a weapon at WR. At just 215 pounds, he would have to bulk up quite a bit to be a TE. And, under the new coaching staff, there isn't much use for TEs. So Gardner is facing a tough road to seeing the field on offense.

Gardner's Hudl page shows his senior year highlights. Watch and see mostly play where Gardner is highlighted as a blocker. This is his path to the field. Special teams coaches love bigger kids who can run a bit and can block in space. Gardner was already a pretty decent blocker in space 2 years ago and he can only get better.

If he keeps working hard, he'll have a role on the return units before too long.