After his terrific rookie campaign, Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner is heading back to school to finish his degree.
The 22-year-old Michigan native left college a year early once he was eligible for the NFL Draft, where he was selected 4th overall by Gang Green in the 2022 offseason.
But the University of Cincinnati product is now spending his summer back hitting the books to officially graduate.
“Even though I had a 3.5 cumulative GPA after my 3rd year in college, I never got to get my degree because I wanted to leave early & pursue my dream of playing in the NFL,” Gardner tweeted. “With that being said, I’m back enrolled in classes and on course to graduate in the summer.”
Even though I had a 3.5 cumulative GPA after my 3rd year in college, I never got to get my degree because I wanted to leave early & purse my dream of playing in the NFL…… With that being said, I’m back enrolled in classes and on course to graduate in the summer🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾
— SAUCE (@iamSauceGardner) January 15, 2023
It’s not immediately clear where Gardner plans to take his final handful of collegiate courses. Regardless, his decision will not affect his availability for Gang Green next season.
After heading to the NFL, Gardner put on a remarkable rookie campaign, and is among the favorites to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. He was also named to the NFL’s first-team All-Pro, and made the Pro Bowl.
Playing all 17 games, the rookie recorded a league-high 20 passes defended, while snagging two interceptions.
He also saw 75 tackles (including three for a loss of yardage) and a single quarterback hit.
Beyond his statistics, Gardner, despite his youth and inexperience, simply locked down opposing wide receivers, and cordoned off large sections of the field.
He almost immediately became a staple of the Jets defense, and helped the team limit opponents to just 3,220 total passing yards on the season — the third-least of any defense in the NFL.
Gardner has rightly received comparisons to former Jets star cornerback Darrelle Revis.
“I think Sauce has the word ‘playmaker’ written all over him,” Revis said earlier this year. “I think he has the potential to carry the torch on to be a great cornerback for the New York Jets.”