NORMAN — Lesson learned, Courtney Gardner wants to move on from his March arrest on a misdemeanor obstruction charge in his hometown.
Gardner reportedly became belligerent with a police officer after the driver of the car in which Gardner was a passenger was pulled over on suspicion of DUI in Reno, Nev.
“It was a boneheaded mistake I made, and it was an immature thing that I did with the officer,” Gardner said in a telephone interview.
“The charges are dropped, and I'm looking forward to really getting this off my back. Now I'm just working on school and getting ready to go to OU.”
Gardner begins summer school Monday. Passing grades become all the more critical considering the recent news in Norman.
Gardner, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound receiver with 4.4 speed, said he already expected to make an immediate impact for the Sooners in the fall. But with coach Bob Stoops' announcement that three experienced receivers are suspended indefinitely, Gardner is under increased pressure to adapt to the NCAA Division I game, master the playbook and play a significant role this fall.
“I've really got to come in and really learn the offense fast,” Gardner said. “I feel like I'm ready for the job, even though I didn't do spring and I'm not going to be there for summer. I feel like I can come in and make a big impact.”
Oklahoma co-offensive coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell both visited with Gardner after Trey Franks, Kameel Jackson and Jaz Reynolds were suspended last month.
“The next week, Coach Norvell came down and visited my school and we talked about it,” said Gardner, who had 1,099 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns last season for Sierra Community College in Roseville, Calif.
“Several of the other coaches called me. They let me know the situation and the type of impact they were expecting me to come in and make.”
But before any of that can happen, Gardner still must get his academics in order.
Gardner signed a letter of intent with the Sooners in February, but he still had a handful of classes to successfully complete before he could become academically eligible to enroll at Oklahoma.
He took six classes during the spring semester, and said he'll take three more this summer.
“I did pretty good (during the spring semester),” Gardner said. “I took six classes this semester, so three shouldn't be that hard.”
The person who will arguably need Gardner the most — senior quarterback Landry Jones — is one of the receiver's chief encouragers.
“I've talked to Landry a lot,” Gardner said. “We usually text every other day.
“He tells me to keep my head in the books, and that at the end of the day, it's all going to be over soon and I can look back and think about how much I got done to really be successful and go to OU.”
Gardner is one of six new wide receivers expected to join the Sooners this fall. Incoming freshman Trey Metoyer shined at April's spring game and is lauded by his coaches and teammates as a budding superstar, but, if the three indefinite suspensions last through Sept. 1's season opener at UTEP, junior Kenny Stills would be the only active receiver or tight end on the roster with a career NCAA Division I reception.
“I talked to a lot of guys on the team, and everybody's already talking about us winning a national championship,” Gardner said. “But it won't really matter if Landry and everyone who is coming in don't get on the same page. When it all comes down to it, we all just need to get chemistry with Landry and I think we'll be fine.”