Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 7/16/13
For most college athletes, July is a quiet month. There's always work to do, both in the gym and on your game, but you aren't normally spending a lot of time in the spotlight. That hasn't been the case for Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner. The junior already had an unforgettable month, and it has only reached the halfway point. Things started getting weird on July 3 when Mark Walhberg, in town to shoot a movie, stopped by the Michigan campus to visit the Big House. Gardner had a great time, posting videos of himself throwing a touchdown pass to Wahlberg and trying (and badly missing) a 50-yard field goal. In Gardner's defense, he was wearing sandals at the time. Last week's adventure was planned in advance, but Gardner seemed to enjoy it just as much. He spent time at the famed Manning Passing Academy, run by former NFL star Archie Manning and his three sons - Cooper and, well, you've probably heard of the other two. Gardner filled up his Instagram account with more photos from the weekend camp, including pictures of him with both Peyton and Eli and shots with some of the other college quarterbacks in attendance, including Alabama's A.J. McCarron and defending Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. More importantly for Gardner's future, he impressed the scouts who swarm to the high-profile camp every year. Several NFL analysts tweeted that they were being told that Gardner was raising his NFL draft stock with a powerful arm and athletic ability, with the obvious comparison being drawn to Dolphins starter Ryan Tannehill. Like Gardner, Tannehill spent part of his college career playing wide receiver after losing a battle for the quarterback job, then moved back behind center after regaining the job. Tannehill, who only played one full season at quarterback at Texas A&M, ended up being selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2012 draft by Miami. He won the starting job out of training camp and went on to play every game, throwing for 3,294 yards and 12 touchdowns. That wouldn't be a bad career path for Gardner, who will have the advantage of two full years of quarterbacking the Wolverines if he stays through his senior year. Gardner didn't miss the attention he was getting, either. He retweeted several positive comments about his performance, including an article on NFL.com that compared him to a pair of pretty good young NFL signal callers: "Gardner displayed superior arm strength in drills, showing the kind of zip and velocity to rival big-armed NFL passers like Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick," wrote Bucky Brooks. "Additionally, he demonstrated outstanding accuracy and ball placement in the throwing exhibition." Gardner isn't a lock to be a star this fall - he'll be playing in a revamped offensive scheme behind an offensive line with multiple question marks, but he also has some things going in his favor. Thanks to Taylor Lewan's shocking decision to return for his senior year, Gardner will be protected by college football's best left tackle, and the new offense is designed to take advantage of his ability to throw the ball downfield, something that Denard Robinson was never able to master. That, though, is still a few weeks away. Right now, Gardner has to be wondering what else is going to happen to him in July.
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