"I just committed," Darren Gardenhire texted CF.C
Gardenhire, who hails from Long Beach, Calif., chose the Cougs over offers from Boise State, Utah, Nevada, Fresno State and several others.
The 6-1, 200-pounder is rated three stars and the 93rd best safety in the land by Scout.com, but he'll be lining up at cornerback for Washington State next season.
Prior to his official visit, Gardenhire had great things to say about the Cougar staff and said the relationships he had established with them was why he was so interested in WSU.
"They've been showing me a lot of love and I know I'd have the opportunity to go up there and play as a true freshman," Gardenhire said.
THE SENIOR STANDOUT has recorded 97 tackles, three interceptions, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery for Cabrillo Juan Rodriguez High this season.
Scout.com National Recruiting Analyst Greg Biggins tells CF.C the Cougs landed themselves quite a player in Gardenhire.
"Gardenhire went from a solid prospect in the summer to a very good prospect and one of the best defensive backs in the West following his senior season," Biggins said. "He's a very tough kid who plays with an edge.
"He loves to hit but has very good cover skills as well. He has improved his athleticism significantly and was one of the state's top punt and kick returners this past season. That improved explosiveness is why there was such a strong bump in his recruitment with multiple Pac-12 schools making him a priority."
Biggins added that Gardenhire's commitment could also open the eyes to other prospects.
"The Cougars were able to seal the deal this past weekend and Gardenhire could pay immediate dividends on the recruiting side as he's one of the more popular and well liked players in the SoCal region and could draw others to Pullman as well," Biggins said.
Gardenhire texted CF.C saying he wouldn't be able to talk until Monday because of his travels back to California, but Biggins was able to catch him briefly Sunday evening.
"I just knew this was where I wanted to spend my college career at," Gardenhire told Biggins. "I just love the atmosphere out here and I think I have a chance to come and make a name for myself.
GARDENHIRE WENT ON to tell Biggins that he won't be taking anymore official visits.
"I'm solid with Washington State, I'm shutting it down," Gardenhire said. "I took my visit to Utah already and liked it there but Washington State just felt like the best overall fit for me. Like I said, it's where I felt most comfortable and I'm just really excited about this opportunity to play in the Pac 12.
"Back in the summer, I never really thought I would have this opportunity. I worked hard and got better. I'm glad that schools took notice of me and I'm thankful to all the schools who recruited me. I'm going to be doing some recruiting now and hopefully I can get some other players to come to Washington State with me."
He becomes the 13th known verbal commit for the class of 2014, joining Peyton Bender, Greg Hoyd, Zaire Andre, Keith Harrington, Calvin Green, Kevin Griffin, Tristan Vizcaino, Joseph Turner, Frank Luvu, Sean Krepsz, Chandler Leniu and Ngalu Tapa.
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