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Saturday, March 2, 2013
Watch List DB is No. 8 for TAMU

By Damon Sayles

ESPN Watch List defensive back Dylan Sumner-Gardner is many things. He’s a hard-hitting, fundamentally sound safety. He’s a budding vocal and physical leader on the field. Recently, he became a more spiritually sound person after getting baptized in January.

Most importantly, Sumner-Gardner is a maturing individual, someone who understands that your favorite thing sometimes isn’t what’s best for you. When he decommitted from Clemson -- the school he consistently called his “dream school” -- on Jan. 31, he knew then that sometimes, a favorite isn’t always the best option.

With that said, Sumner-Gardner decided to do what’s best for him on Saturday.

Sumner-Gardner verbally committed to play for Texas A&M. The 6-foot-1, 192-pound safety became the Aggies’ eighth member of the 2014 recruiting class after being recruited by both wide receivers coach David Beaty and secondary coach Marcel Yates.

2014 DB prospect Dylan Sumner-Gardner
Watch List safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner became the eighth member of Texas A&M's 2014 class.
“Texas A&M just felt like home to me,” Sumner-Gardner said. “There are a lot of colleges that are great schools and are the right fit for you, but Texas A&M really felt like home. Talking to Coach [Kevin] Sumlin, Coach Beaty and Coach Yates will make you feel at home.”

Sumner-Gardner visited College Station, Texas, for the Aggies’ open spring practice. He also took in Texas A&M for a junior day near the end of January. Once Sumner-Gardner decommitted from Clemson, many felt he was a Texas A&M lean because of his connection with the coaching staff.

Sumner-Gardner said he’s still a Clemson fan and will be a huge supporter of the Tigers, but the opportunity to play for the Aggies was too good to pass up. While he said playing in the SEC didn’t aid in his final decision, the idea of lining up against some of the conference’s elite wide receivers was intriguing.

“If I get the chance to go to the NFL, I know I’ll be ready after this,” Sumner-Gardner said. “A lot of guys who make it to the NFL come from the SEC.”

Sumner-Gardner is coming off a junior season where he had 85 tackles and four interceptions. He helped West Mesquite to an 8-3 record and a trip to the Texas Class 4A Division I playoffs.

In an effort to be more of a complete player, Sumner-Gardner said his focus has been to become a team leader first, a more versatile player second. Getting baptized, Sumner-Gardner said, has helped to clear his head and get him even more focused with his goals.

“It just felt good knowing I gave my life to God, knowing he’s made everything happen in my life,” he said. “I just thought I’d do that and start living right, because a lot of the guys on my team look up to me to be a leader on the defense.

“We’re only going to have two returning starters on defense, so it’s going to be my job to keep the team together and keep everybody hyped up for the game. This offseason, we’re going to be building our leadership and team chemistry.”