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Moe Gardner

Defensive Tackle

Morris Gardner, Jr.

Inducted 2022

Date of Birth



Indianapolis, IN


University of Illinois (1987-1990)


A two-time First Team All-American, Moe Gardner was described by Illinois head coach John Mackovic as "the best player at any position in college football" during his 1990 senior campaign. The Indianapolis, Indiana, native is the 13th Fighting Illini player to enter the College Football Hall of Fame. Gardner earned unanimous First Team All-America honors in 1989 before earning consensus laurels as a senior in 1990. He was named the 1989 Big Ten Lineman of the Year, Illinois MVP, and an Outland Trophy finalist after leading the Illini to a No. 10 final ranking and a win in the 1990 Citrus Bowl – the program's first bowl victory since 1964. The following season, Gardner was a Rotary Lombardi Award finalist and earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors after guiding Illinois to a share of the 1990 conference title and a No. 25 final ranking. A four-time All-Big Ten selection, Gardner earned first team honors from 1988-90 after second team recognition as a freshman. The two-year team captain finished his career with a school-record 57 tackles for loss and he led the Illini in that category during his final three seasons. He also recorded 18 career sacks. He was inducted into the Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame in 2020 and was named to the school's all-century team as an active player in 1990. Gardner played six seasons for the Atlanta Falcons from 1991-96. After earning a master's degree in library information sciences from Clark Atlanta University, Gardner currently works as a public services librarian principal at the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History in Atlanta, serving in the reference, research, and programs division. His responsibilities include assisting scholars and PhD candidates who study the African diaspora on a global scale.


Height 6'2"

Weight 265

Career Highlights

  • 1990 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year
  • 1990 First Team All-America
  • 1990 First Team All-Big Ten
  • 1989 Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year
  • 1989 First Team All-America
  • 1989 First Team All-Big Ten
  • 1988 First Team All-Big Ten
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