While many felt the ESPN 300 safety would stick with his commitment to Texas A&M, there was always the question. On Saturday, Sumner-Gardner made all speculation a reality, decommitting from the Aggies, verbally committing to the Broncos and becoming arguably one of the most shocking recruiting stories for the 2014 class.
“I’d been thinking about it since he applied for the job,” Sumner-Gardner said of Yates, a coach with whom he really bonded from the start. “When they said he was leaving, I started researching Boise and the academics there.”
What Sumner-Gardner, ranked No. 93 in the ESPN 300, found was that in addition to having a respected football program, Boise State also has a nursing program with a lot of history. Sumner-Gardner wants to pursue nursing if an opportunity to play professional football isn’t in his future.
As for the football program, Boise State has produced NFL standouts such as Doug Martin (Buccaneers), Quintin Mikell (Panthers), Ryan Clady (Broncos) and Orlando Scandrick (Cowboys). Sumner-Gardner is hoping to make Boise State famous in a similar way that one Heisman Trophy winner did for another particular program.
“I’d like to help start something kind of like how Johnny Manziel did,” Sumner-Gardner said. “I’m going in trying to change Boise State around where it will be a top school.
“I see it as a school where in two years, it can be one of the top schools you’ll see in the playoffs consistently.”
Because of the relationship Sumner-Gardner has with Yates, flipping from Texas A&M was a risk he was willing to take.
“Coach Yates has always kept it real with me,” Sumner-Gardner said. “He played DB, and he knows how to play the position well. I wanted to be coached by him.”
Sumner-Gardner, at 6-foot-1 and 198 pounds, is the sixth-ranked safety in the country. He is the 14th-ranked player in the state of Texas.