Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner declared for the 2022 NFL Draft on Tuesday. In three seasons with the Bearcats, Gardner helped lead the program to two AAC championships and a College Football Playoff appearance — all while not allowing a single receiving touchdown throughout his career.
“Thank you for your support these last three years,” Gardner said in a statement on Twitter. “You are the best fans in the world and I will always cherish the memories I have of going undefeated at Nippert Stadium and playing on the biggest stages with you cheering me on.”
Gardner ranked among the best defensive players in college football during a storied career for the Bearcats. Rated the No. 1672 prospect in the 2019 recruiting class, Gardner quickly established himself as an all-conference player, and later an All-American.
In his three years with the Bearcats, Gardner posted 99 tackles, 16 passes defended and nine interceptions. Gardner had more pick-sixes (two) than receiving touchdowns allowed — zero — and allowed just 712 total receiving yards on 138 career targets. In 2021, Gardner became the first Cincinnati player in history to be honored as a consensus All-American.
Cincinnati went 33-5 in Gardner’s tenure with back-to-back top-10 status in the College Football Playoff Rankings. The Bearcats won 22 straight games to end his career and became the first Group of Five squad to make the College Football Playoff. Cincinnati lost 27-6 to No. 1 Alabama, but became the first team to hold Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young to fewer than 200 yards passing.
Gardner’s draft prospects
Gardner ranks as the No. 3 cornerback and No. 17 overall prospect in CBS Sports’ 2022 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings. All three CBS Sports NFL Draft…