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Sunday, February 24, 2013
S Sumner-Gardner impressed by Texas

By Max Olson

Dylan Sumner-Gardner knew Texas was interested in him. That suspicion was more than confirmed Saturday when he met with Mack Brown, secondary coach Duane Akina and recruiting coordinator Bruce Chambers.

“They wanted me to know they’re offering a scholarship and all the coaches like me,” Sumner-Gardner said. “They’re going to recruit me a lot.”

Dylan Sumner-Garner
Watch List safety Dylan Sumner-Garner said he could see himself playing at Texas.
The West Mesquite (Texas) safety prospect was one of six Texas junior day visitors who went home with a new offer, and that wasn’t an honor he took lightly.

Sumner-Gardner said he came away impressed by what the Longhorns had to offer during his one-day visit and said the experience was an eye-opening one.

“Texas was really nice. I had a really good time at Texas,” he said. “I came away really liking Texas. I felt great overall, and I really liked it and liked the coaches.”

For Sumner-Gardner, this visit was the first opportunity he got to see a college defense in action. The Longhorns held their second practice of the spring on Saturday morning, and taking that in gave him a new appreciation for Akina.

“He’s a really cool guy. I had a lot of fun with him,” Sumner-Gardner said. “He’s real energized on and off the field. Watching the practice was fun. He had a lot of energy and has fun with the players. That was a great experience.”

Akina sold the ESPN Watch List prospect on his long history of sending defensive backs to the NFL, but that wasn’t what impressed Sumner-Gardner on Saturday.

What really stood out to him was the opportunity to see how Texas uses its safeties in its defensive schemes. Sumner-Gardner said his trip to Texas was right on par with his recent visit to Texas A&M, but the chance to watch practice set this visit apart.

“I could see myself playing safety at Texas,” he said. “They have physical safeties but they also like the play some man. I can see myself playing there.”

Sumner-Gardner nearly missed out on the visit after having trouble finding a ride down to Austin.

His head coach at West Mesquite, Mike Overton, ended up coming through and driving him down. He gave the coveted defensive back some advice as they drove home, too.

“He told me that I should do what I feel like and he didn’t want me to feel any pressure about Texas,” he said. “There’s a lot of schools looking at me and he wants me to do what’s right for me.”

Since decommitting from Clemson earlier this year, Sumner-Gardner said he’s been talking to Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Baylor, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Auburn and Miami (Fla). And that's just the short list.

Which of those schools is pulling ahead from the rest so far? Sumner-Gardner won’t say.

“I don’t really have a top school right now,” he said. “I’m just looking at difference schools right now and taking my process slow. I don’t have a favorite school.”