The Florida Gators have secured commitments from five high school offensive linemen in the class of 2021. Some carry high floors, specifically as run blockers such as Jake Slaughter and Adrein Strickland.
Javonte Gardner, on the other hand, presents a lower floor but a higher ceiling. Raw in his technical development, Gardner possesses the frame to continue growing and getting stronger beyond the raw power he displays consistently on tape. Aggressive through the whistle and carrying some naturally appealing aspects in his game such as length and his base in pass protection, with grooming, Gardner could take his game to the next level at Florida.
Gardner has been projected as a guard by some, including Sports Illustrated All-American, and perhaps he would be a good fit there as he's certainly a mauler. However, he primarily has experience at both tackle spots and could certainly evolve into an SEC-caliber tackle, likely on the right side, given his makeup and strengths.
Below, you can find Gardner's scouting report from Sports Illustrated All-American. The inaugural, 25-man Sports Illustrated All-American team of the top prospects in the class of 2021 will be unveiled in December.
Prospect: OT Javonte Gardner
Position: Offensive Tackle
Status: SI All-American Candidate
Vitals: 6-foot-5, 290 pounds
School: Orlando (Fla.) Jones
Committed to: Florida
Projected Position: Offensive Guard
Frame: Adequate height with a broad build. Wide midsection with some loose weight in the trunk. Above-average length. Room to convert to muscle mass throughout.
Athleticism: Short-area movement skill with speed to power conversion on contact. Strong punch. Some pulling experience but second level game could stand for improvement. Heavy footed with average agility, backed by a short shuttle mark of 5.00 in 2019.
Instincts: Aggressive trenchman who enjoys the ‘fight’ in one-on-one scenarios. Wide base in pass pro, along with length, masks his lack of athleticism at the prep level. Desire to drive opponents to the turf, through the whistle, with a strong motor to boot.
Polish: This is a phone booth mauler who happens to play left tackle at the prep level. Most everything on tape screams interior prospect, from the wide base to short-area pop and area for improvement in the leverage department. His extension is solid as is anchor, but pad level and pass protection consistency is in the early stages of development.
Bottom Line: Gardner is a raw, mauling offensive lineman who likely kicks inside at the next level. He can overwhelm high school defenders with sheer mass but will need to refine body composition to do so in the SEC at the same rate. Edge and grit exist, along with strong pop at the point of contact, so there is a foundation for the expected move that can pay off later in his college career assuming buy-in on his end.