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Thursday, January 31, 2013
Watch List S decommits from Clemson

By Damon Sayles and Sam Khan Jr.

Clemson’s 2013 recruiting class is shaping up to be a pretty good one. Expectations were high -- perhaps higher -- for its 2014 class.

Late Thursday evening, the class suffered a blow, as ESPN Watch List safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner (Mesquite, Texas/West Mesquite) confirmed he decommitted in an effort to re-evaluate his options.

"It was something that's been on my mind for awhile now," Sumner-Gardner said. "I had talked with Coach [Dabo] Swinney and [defensive coordinator] Coach [Brent] Venables not too long ago, and what he told me was about the true meaning of being committed. Me going to see other schools, that's not the true meaning [of being committed].

"So out of respect to Coach Swinney, I decided to decommit. It was something that was hard. There aren't too many coaches like Coach Swinney and the other guys on that campus."

Sumner-Gardner, who committed to Clemson June 14, said he won’t make any decisions until after he takes all of his junior days. He visited Texas A&M last weekend and will visit Baylor on Saturday. Sumner-Gardner also will take in Texas on Feb. 10.

A 6-foot-1, 192-pound safety, Sumner-Gardner has been a fan of Clemson since the days when Brian Dawkins was making an impact there. In fact, he's called Clemson his "dream school," -- even traveling 22 hours one way on a bus to attend a Clemson camp over the summer -- when he was offered.

"It's weird to decommit from your dream school, but at the same time, [Swinney] was right," Sumner-Gardner said. "At some point in time, you have to become a man. And to be a man, you have to [honor] your word."

While he said Clemson is still a favorite of his, it was only right for him to officially give the other schools a chance.

“I won’t announce until after I go to all my junior days,” Sumner-Gardner said. “I want to go [to other schools] just to have fun and get to see what their education’s like, see their schemes and see if I fit in them.”

Sumner-Gardner admitted that he had an outstanding time at Texas A&M. He said College Station, Texas, “felt just like home” and said he didn’t have any negatives about the trip or the program.