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Posted on Tue, Aug 7, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Devin Gardner takes more snaps at wide receiver, Michigan football teammates say he's a natural fit

By Nick Baumgardner


Michigan's Devin Gardner took more snaps at wide receiver Monday, and teammates say he's been impressive thus far.

Melanie Maxwell |

The first time Michigan football junior Devin Gardner lined up at wide receiver this spring, teammate Roy Roundtree had his questions.

"Devin would go out there and talk smack to all the (defensive backs)," Roundtree quipped. "And I'm just sitting on the sideline thinking, 'man, what's about to happen?' "

Gardner, the team's athletic backup quarterback, began taking a few pass-catching snaps during spring drills in March and continued to do so through the summer.

On Monday, Michigan held its first official 2012 fall camp practice, and once again, Gardner spent time lining up on the outside.

Only this time, Roundtree -- who is expected to be the team's top wideout this season -- had no more questions.

"He's backing his talking up," Roundtree said. "He's getting better."

How much time the 6-foot-4, 203-pound Gardner will spend at wide receiver this season remains a mystery.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke confirmed to reporters Monday that Gardner did in fact take snaps at wideout during the team's first workout, but said he's still not sure how much the team will use him in that capacity moving forward.

He also said he's not sure what type of quarterback-wide receiver snap ratio Gardner will go through during fall camp.

"Not yet," Hoke said. "(It's been) one day."

While Hoke remains relatively quiet on Gardner's possible future at wide receiver, his teammates have raved at his potential as a playmaker.

Gardner would easily be the team's tallest wide receiver, and might also be its most athletic -- something that isn't lost on Michigan defenders.

"He's a great athlete, I feel like he could play anywhere and he could probably take my spot if he tried," Michigan senior safety Jordan Kovacs said. "He's a natural athlete, and if they play him at receiver, I'm sure he'll be pretty good.

"Wherever he plays, he's going to make big plays."

The person throwing him the ball, senior quarterback Denard Robinson, has been impressed as well.

Robinson applauded Gardner's competitive spirit and willingness to adapt to have an impact in games this season, and also said he's had to do a few double-takes while throwing the ball to his current backup.

"When he gets out to receiver, you think he's a receiver," Robinson said. "He looks like he's been playing there for years."

Obviously Gardner hasn't been playing wide receiver for years, and naturally has plenty to learn at the position.

Roundtree estimated that finding a way to get off jams at the line of scrimmage might be his biggest hurdle moving forward. But from a route-running standpoint, he feels like any transition shouldn't be overly difficult.

"He knows the playbook," Roundtree said. "Being a quarterback, I'm pretty sure he knows half the things we know."

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.



Tue, Aug 7, 2012 : 5:34 p.m.

One of Michigan's weaknesses over the last number of years (since Braylon Edwards left) has been the lack of a deep threat at WR. Having a tall, speedy receiver is a huge advantage for an offense, because of the ability to stretch the defense out. Gardner can be that guy we've been looking for. I don't see any of the other returning guys being that kind of receiver. Roundtree is more of a mid-range receiver, and Gallon and Dileo are slot guys. I haven't seen Robinson at receiver enough to get a feel for his long play potential. We'll have to see how Darboh and Chesson fit into the mix.


Tue, Aug 7, 2012 : 5:50 p.m.

Mario Manningham would like to have a word with you.

Robert Granville

Tue, Aug 7, 2012 : 3:42 p.m.

There's a definite possibility that we can line up Roundtree in the slot in some formations this year with Darboh and Gardner at the X and Z. That is ideal and we all know how well Roundtree performs from the slot. Finally length at the receiver position!


Tue, Aug 7, 2012 : 2:31 p.m.

With Devin Gardner and now Amarah Darboh showing a lot pf potential, the WR positions are capable of pleasant surprises. I am confident on Roy Roundtree's ability to show improvement. Add an improved Denard Robinson's passing ability and the passing attack could be lethal. Likewise, Thomas Rawls is capable of surpassing what Fitz did at tailback last season. The rest of tailback corps has a lot potential. With Devin on the field as WR and Bellomy emerging as #2 QB, the offense looks to be in fine shape. GO BLUE!!