"The week before the spring game I watched the team scrimmage," said Dillon Gartner. "I had the chance to speak with Coach Snyder and Coach Miller. It gave me a good feel for the school and the football program. Coach Snyder is such an awesome coach. He came right up to me and knew who I was by my face. He's easy-going and great to talk to. I loved the campus. Seeing the cattle, horses, and corn made me feel right at home."
Last season, Gartner played at Gothenburg High School in Nebraska Class C-1 last season. His father, Randy, a former walk-on at the University of Nebraska, took a job in Giltner. Giltner plays eight-man football and Gartner says he's excited to play this unorthodox, but exciting, brand of football.
"We played a 3-5 [at Gothenburg] and I faced a lot of triple teams, he said. "I had 75 tackles and five sacks but most of my stats came at defensive end. Eight-man is faster, more up-tempo like a spread offense. Many of the schools recruiting me use a spread so I think it's going to help me.
"I'm a physical player with the same intensity of the Peter brothers who played at Nebraska. I'm out there do whatever it takes to win. Coach Rhodes at Iowa State said I had a great motor when he saw me as a sophomore. I always finish plays and I have a heart for the game."
Del Miller was recruiting Drew Ott from Giltner in the 2012 class. Ott ended up signing with Iowa. Although Gartner is still awaiting his first offer, he's staying active this summer at camps and even has a back-up plan if things don't work out with a Division 1 school.
"I'm going to a Friday Night Lights camp at Iowa State in July," Gartner stated. "Then I want to go back to Kansas State again and Kansas for camps. My goal is to be a teacher and football coach maybe somewhere in Texas or Alabama. If I don't go D1, I'll probably go to junior college. I've been looking at Iowa Western (Community College) to go and get my beginning stuff out of the way then going to Kansas State. I loved it there. I talk to Coach Miller on the phone sometimes just to shoot the bull. If they offered me it would be hard to turn down."
In addition to football, Gartner has played basketball, wrestled an competed in track. He finished third in the state last year in the discus with a toss of 165 feet. His goal is to win state in football, basketball, and track in his senior season and make school history at Giltner. He will wear No. 76 for the Hornets.