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July 2, 2013
Long Beach (Calif.) Safety Darren Gardenhire has five scholarship offers, including one from the Pac-12, but that didn't stop him from committing a bit early in the process.
"I committed to San Jose State last night [6/30]," Gardenhire said. "I like them because they're really into playing young defensive backs. I'm not into going to a big school, I'm going to go wherever fits me, and where I like the coaches. Donte Williams is my recruiter and I honestly think he's one of the best secondary coaches in the country."
Another factor was their impressive 2012 season.
"Everybody says they're a small school, but they went 11-2 last year and went to a bowl game. That's good enough for me for me to get myself out there and show everyone what I can do."
The Spartan coaches were happy to have him on board.
"They were fired up to have me and they can't wait until I get up there and help keep the program turned around."
Gardenhire finds that San Jose reminds him of home.
"I went up there one time and I felt really comfortable. I like the city a lot, it's like Los Angeles, it's a big city and they have good weather."
Despite the commitment, he acknowledges that nothing's official.
"It's still early in the recruiting process, so I'm still considering everyone that's interested in me. That being said, I'm committed to San Jose State and they're my number one school."
One school that he's still considering is Fresno State. The three star safety found the Bulldogs by accident and they returned the favor. On June 29th, they offered him a scholarship.
"One of my friends had the linebackers coaches card and I sent them my highlight tape," Gardenhire said. "He forwarded it to coach [Dave] Brown. I ended up talking to coach Brown and he came to my school and evaluated me. After I sent them my transcript, I gave him a call and he said they had the okay to offer me."
He still might pay a visit to the San Joaquin Valley.
"I haven't visited Fresno State yet, but I would consider taking a visit when I have time. I start practice next week so it might be a while. When I have time I would definitely check them out."
He hasn't thought about any other visits, apart from two potential officials.
"I'm going to visit San Jose State officially after the season, around December or January. I think I also might visit Nevada."
The Wolf-pack's tradition of success and early interest is what interested the star from Cabrillo High.
"Nevada has shown interest in me and they've always won games, so I'm definitely interested in what they have to offer."
It would appear that although Gardenhire is committed to San Jose State, the Spartans have some competition. FSBulldogs.com will have an update if Gardenhire decides to visit campus.
Fresno State NEWS