Gardner-Webb opens its 2022 season at home on Thursday, September 1, hosting nearby NCAA Division II foe Limestone University at 7:00 pm in Ernest W. Spangler Stadium. Gardner-Webb welcomes back one of the most talented offensive players in the country in Narii Gaither (5-10, 181, Sr.). The Rock HIll, S.C., native is a preseason FCS All-America choice as an all-purpose back and is one of only two men in the nation returning after leading his team in both rushing yards and receptions. Gaither, who nearly reached the 1,000-yard rushing mark last season despite playing in just eight full games, was also recently named to the Walter Payton Award Watch List – given annually to the top offensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision.
Another star returning for Gardner-Webb plays defense and does so at a very high level. Defensive end Ty French (6-3, 234, Jr.) is also a preseason FCS All-America choice, as well as one of the nation's most feared pass rushers. A disruptive force on the edge, the Moultrie, Ga., native had 14.5 tackles for loss last season and recorded 7.0 sacks over his final four starts of the season. A two-time, first-team All-Big South selection, French was recently named to the Buck Buchanan Award Watch List. The Buchanan Award is given each season to the top defender in the Football Championship Subdivision.
This, strengthened by a very strong recruiting class, ensures that the Bulldogs will be a force to be reckoned with throughout the 2022 season.