Saints rookie C.J. Gardner-Johnson confident his Florida Gators win at LSU

Gardner-Johnson played in last year's 27-19 Florida win

Amos Morale III
October 10, 2019 - 2:40 pm

The question of who'd come out on top of this weekend's contest between top 10 teams was barely finished before Saints rookie defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson proudly proclaimed: “Florida!”

The former Gator is very confident that his former teammates will win Saturday’s marquee college football matchup between No. 5 LSU and No.7 Florida at 7 p.m. in Tiger Stadium.

“I hate LSU with a passion,” Gardner-Johnson said. “That’s why I go so hard. So I’m taking Florida by 7.” 

He highlighted Florida’s talented roster, naturally, giving props to the defensive backfield he was apart of last season and said Florida’s 6-0 record is more impressive than LSU’s 5-0 mark because “LSU ain’t played nobody.”

Gardner-Johnson also said he wasn’t concerned with LSU’s improved offense as he still favors Florida’s matchups. He played against most of the Tigers current players in the Gators 27-19 win against LSU last year. Gardner-Johnson had 11 tackles in that game.

Now on the Saints roster, Garnder-Johnson is starting to make more of an impact for New Orleans. He was on the field for 29 of the Saints defensive snaps in Sunday's win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The 21-year-old said he hasn't focused on how much he's played but rather growing as a player. He's focused on learning, being ready to play and most of all having fun when he’s on the field.

“I’m hype every play,” He said. “No matter if I’m on special teams or not. So, you’ve got to keep that energy and keep the team going because that energy is contagious and I want to be a positive contagious guy to this team.”

He showed that energy in Sunday’s game when the Saints fans' unofficial anthem “Choppa Style” was played. Gardner-Johnson was displayed on the big screen showing off his dance moves. But all the fun he’s having doesn’t mean he’s not working.

Saints coach Sean Payton said he was encouraged with what they’ve seen from him.

“He’s smart,” Payton said. “He understands what we're doing. There are some packages that involve him as an additional DB. He transitions exceptionally well. I think he tackles well and he's got good ball skills.”

Gardner-Johnson said he’s planning of watching his alma mater this weekend ahead of the Saints matchup at Jacksonville and plans to root for his Gators although some of his teammates will be rooting for LSU.

Saints offensive lineman Will Clapp is a former Tiger and several of New Orleans former players are Ohio State Alums and are rooting for fellow former Buckeye Joe Burrow who’s having a record setting season.

Cornerback Eli Apple said he’s expecting a big win for LSU.

“Joe is a highly talented quarterback, highly confident and it’s great to see him have success this year,” Apple said. “Being where he came from and the journey… he’s had a lot to get to where he is now. 

“He’s very resilient and he’s tough as nails I just hope to continue see him flourish this season hopefully get that Heisman trophy, get a championship or something like that… or see Ohio State and loss a championship to them.”

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