A junior safety who has been committed to Clemson since June, Dylan Sumner-Gardner has seen his interests take a sharp turn in recent weeks as ace recruiter Charlie Harbison moved from the ACC Tigers to Auburn to coach defensive backs on the Plains.
With the two having already forged a very good relationship it was just a matter of time before an Auburn offer came for the 11th-ranked safety in the 2014 class, according to Scout.com. Now that he's gotten some love from Auburn and Harbison, Sumner-Gardner says he's excited to learn more about Gus Malzahn's program.
"It was good getting an offer from Auburn," Sumner-Gardner tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "At first I didn't even know I had one, but when Coach Cheese (Harbison) went to Auburn I kind of knew I was going to get one. Right now it just feels good to have that offer. Auburn looks like a good fit for me and it's somewhere I know I would have good coaching."
Hiring veteran Ellis Johnson to run the defense, Rodney Garner from Georgia to coach the defensive line and Melvin Smith to work with the cornerbacks, Malzahn has put together an impressive and experienced staff on that side of the ball. That is something that has already caught the eye of the talented young safety.
"I don't know too much about them yet," Sumner-Gardner says. "I know the defensive coordinator was at South Carolina. They also just got Georgia's defensive line coach too. I think the defense is going to be really good and I could make a big impact if I were to choose Auburn."
Planning to take a visit to Auburn either in the spring or over the summer, Sumner-Gardner says at the moment he is still committee to Clemson, but the new offer and learning more about Auburn has given him plenty to think about.
"Right now I'm considering both Clemson and Auburn," Sumner-Gardner says. "I'm just going to weigh my options."
At 6-1, 193, Sumner-Gardner has a good blend of size and speed for a player who still has another year of high school remaining. Already a three-star prospect, who should only see his stock rise in the next year, the talented defender notes that he has worked to become a better player and gives a defense options because of his skill set.
"I can play both corner and safety because I have good hips and have good size," Sumner-Garner says. "I'm also a good open field tackler. I have great ball skills and can read routes pretty good. I watch a lot of film so when I'm in a game I know what's coming."
In his first season as a starter for Class 4A West Mesquite, Sumner-Gardner had more than 40 tackles, one interception, seven passes defended and three forced fumbles.