Ohio Linebacker Talks Syracuse

Syracuse has already had success at talent-laden Dublin Coffman High (OH.) this summer, landing a verbal commitment from speedster Trey Fairchild. Could Fairchild's commitment affect teammate Steve Gardiner, a highly sought linebacker whom SU has also offered?

"He's not really [recruiting me]. He knows I want to make my own decision, but if I have any questions I'm sure he'll let me know what's up," Gardiner told Syracusefan.com. Gardiner is a 6-foot-1, 205-pound linebacker who ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash at the Scout.com combine in Pittsburgh earlier this summer and was named to the all-combine team. He has no lack of interest from major programs, boasting offers from the following: SU, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Oklahoma State and Indiana. Michigan State is recruiting him, as is Ohio State, which has commitment from his Dublin Coffman teammates Jacob Stoneburner and Mike Adams.
With all of that interest, Gardiner is focusing most of his efforts on attending a variety of camps and making campus visits. Still, he's going to need more time before claiming any frontrunners.

"Not a clue who my favorite is, really," he said. "It's just too early for me to tell right now."

Gardiner has been making the rounds, including recent visits to Northwestern and Ohio State, an offer from which would be hard to turn down, he admitted. He also plans to visit Pitt and WVU. So, what about Syracuse?

"I plan on going there sometime this summer," he said. "The coaches are really nice."

Gardiner said location is not as big a factor as some others, such as playing for a position coach he likes. SU linebackers coach Steve Russ is recruiting him for the Cuse.

"I think he's a great guy, and he's also the linebackers coach. He sounds like he'd be a great coach," said Gardiner, who recorded 125 tackles last year while also rushing for 996 yards and 11 touchdowns.

As for why he has become such a hot commodity, Gardiner said, "I think the first thing they see is my speed (11.1-second 100-meter dash), that's what all the coaches tell me."

Gardiner would like to make a commitment this summer, but won't rush it. Syracusefan.com and Scout.com will keep you updated on his recruitment…

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