"I played only two years of football," Gayden said. "I played defensive tackle my junior year and offensive tackle my senior year."
He did ultimately commit to play for the hometown school, University of Minnesota, but academics forced him to take the JC route.
Determined to play at the Division I level, Gayden knew that he had to place himself in a junior college program where he could improve his skills and showcase his talent to prospect schools. Even though he had to travel a long distance to Visalia, Calif. to attend the College of the Sequoias, it was a decision that proved to be a beneficial one for this now four-star prospect.
"It's a place that's known to get out players to D-I schools," Gayden explained. "There's better competition in California, and that makes you a better player."
Gayden, who tried to model his game after NFL offensive tackles Joe Thomas and Flozell Adams, had an impressive freshman season for the Giants where he was voted All-Conference. Going into his sophomore year he was selected as a JUCO All-American candidate.
Gayden is being recruited by Sun Devil coaches Jamie Christian and Gregg Smith. "I like Arizona State so far," Gayden said. "I haven't been to the school yet, but I heard it's a good program and they need help at left tackle."
There is much excitement at the University of Minneapolis these days. The Golden Gophers are coming off a bowl season and starting this year will play in state of the art TCF Bank stadium. That coupled with the fact that Minnesota was the school he originally intended to play his college ball at is naturally having some of his family and friends yearning for him to spend the next couple of years in his backyard.
"Yeah, some people want me to stay close to home and play for Minnesota," Gayden commented. "I just want to go to a situation that is best for me. It doesn't matter to me if it's in the Midwest or the west coast."
Gayden hasn't unofficially visited any schools in the off-season, but said that he plans to venture to Cal before the 2009 campaign starts, as well as UCLA and USC. "I have to sit down and look at my schedule and see when I can do official visits during the season," Gayden stated. "Arizona State is one school that I'm probably going to take an official visit to. Cal and Arkansas too.
"I don't plan to make my decision until after the season."
The offensive tackle is scheduled to graduate in December and transfer mid-year. He will be a three for two player in terms of years of eligibility remaining.