"I've always loved Washington," Gardenhire told Dawgman.com shortly after making his decision public. "They have been the school I have wanted to go to for a while. I went up to Seattle a couple of times this year to visit my cousin (UW RB Dwayne Washington) and I just loved it there, but the old staff that was there didn't really show me much interest, so I focused on other schools."
Those schools included San Jose State and Washington State, the two schools he committed to earlier in the process.
"San Jose State is a great program and I liked the coaches there, but when Washington State gave me the chance to play in the Pac 12, I had to switch," Gardenhire admitted. "Then when Washington came calling, I wanted to listen to them and see what they had to say, but in reality, it was the school I always dreamed of going to, so when they offered, I just felt like it was exactly what I needed and I just can't wait to be a Dawg."
While you would think that Gardenhire would commit the moment he got his offer from the Huskies, he also felt he needed to talk tot he Cougar coaching staff and let them know of his decision.
"They said they understood and weren't going to stand in my way or anything," Gardenhire said. "They said they just wanted me to be sure about my decision and if I wanted to be a Husky, they weren't going to make a big deal out of it. It was a really good conversation and I have nothing but good things to say about them."
While he only sported offers from non-AQ programs up until the start of his senior season, Gardenhire far outplayed his three-star status, totaling 97 tackles, three interceptions, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery and had seen things pick up with plenty more Pac 12 schools.
"Things were picking up for me, but I knew I wanted to be a Husky when they came calling," Gardenhire noted. "I'm done now. I am happy with my decision. I love the staff there (he knew them from when they were at Boise State), I am friends with a lot of guys up there (Shaquille Thompson, Jaydon Mickens, Washington, Josh Perkins, etc.) so it's just the perfect fit.
"I can't wait to be a Dawg."
Gardenhire plans to visit Washington on January 17th and said he will be recruiting other players to join him on Montlake.
Darren Gardenhire Scout Profile
Gardenhire Dreamed of Being a Husky
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