NCF On The Trail: Dylan Sumner-Gardner

When Marcel Yates left Texas A&M to take the defensive coordinator position at Boise State, there was immediate chatter.

Would Dylan Sumner-Gardner (Mesquite, Texas/West Mesquite) follow Yates?

Three days of practice are now in the books and overall execution was sharper as the players begin to move into final preparations for the Under Armour All-America Game on Thursday. The productivity of the players picked up as did the speed of the play, and they’re continuing to think less and display their natural ability more. It was a physical day, with the pads popping and some big hits throughout the practice. Here are some of the highlights.

Top performers


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Manziel or Winston? Prospects weigh in

December, 29, 2013
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- There are many topics of conversation among prospects playing in the 2014 Under Armour All-America Game. One of them centers around the past two Heisman Trophy winners.

On Saturday, upon checking in for the prestigious game, a number of prospects weighed in on a hot topic involving Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and Florida State's Jameis Winston.

If they had to choose between the two, who would the players take as their college quarterback? Here are their responses:

[+] EnlargeMarlon Humphrey
Courtesy of IntersportNo. 9 overall prospect Marlon Humphrey likes how Johnny Manziel makes others around him better.
Five-star cornerback Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Al./Hoover High): Ah man, I think I’m going to have to go with Johnny Manziel. I just feel like he kind of made a team out of nothing. Jameis Winston is a great quarterback too, but he doesn’t have the scrambling skills that Manziel has. This year, you could tell that his teams defense wasn’t that good, the players around him weren’t as good, but he kept making his team better. He’s has the fight in him I would want on my team.

Florida commit and No. 20-ranked Dalvin Cook (Miami/Central High): I would say Jameis Winston. He’s really a pure quarterback, and I think he sets up things more for a running back than Johnny Manziel does.

Auburn running back commit Racean Thomas (Oxford, Al./Oxford High): I would probably pick Jameis Winston. The reason behind that is because he is more of a leader for a young quarterback, and I think he can make his team a more mature team. I really think he would be a great quarterback to play with.

Florida wide receiver commit and No. 28 Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead Senior High): Whew, I don’t know. I think Jameis Winston. I look at how both of them played as a freshman, and I like how Jameis Winston leads his team. He is also more pro-ready than Manziel.

Texas defensive end commit and No. 78-overall Derick Roberson (San Antonio, Texas/William J. Brennan High): I guess I would say Johnny Manziel. I like how he plays with his swagger and confidence the most, so I would probably say him.

Notre Dame commit and No. 76-ranked Tyler Luatua (la Mirada, Calif./La Mirada High): I would take Manziel just because of the way he plays. If he doesn’t have a wide receiver open, he can make plays himself. He can get the ball to his players if and when he wants to, but can also do it on his own when he needs to.

No. 38 overall John Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Polytechnic High School): That’s a hard one. As of right now, I would go with Jameis Winston. Overall, he’s a great player. I think Winston has an awesome football IQ. Johnny had his year too, but I think Winston is just a great player. Outstanding.

Dylan Sumner-Gardner: Jameis Winston, man. I feel comfortable with Jameis Winston as my quarterback because he’s smart and accurate. Johnny is accurate too, but Johnny is Johnny. How he runs around, people may get nervous. I would just feel more comfortable with Jameis as my quarterback.

No. 22 overall Laurence Jones (Monroe, La./Neville High): That’s a hard one right there. Let me think ... maybe Johnny Manziel because I don’t think I’ve ever seen a white boy get down like that. It would have to be Johnny Manziel.

Penn State wide receiver commit Chris Godwin (Middletown, De./Middletown High): I think Jameis Winston. I think overall he’s a better passer. I want a quarterback back there that can get me the ball on a consistent basis, but Johnny Manziel is a great player, too. I’m actually a big fan of both of them.

Five-star and Virginia defensive tackle commit Andrew Brown (Chesapeake, VA
Oscar Frommel Smith High)
: Dang, that’s a good question, man. I would go with Jameis Winston. His leadership qualities, coming in as a freshman and doing the things he is doing is definitely uncommon. It just foreshadows what he is going to do in the future, too. He’s already established a great foundation for himself, and I would definitely take him in the future.

Maryland commit Will Ulmer (Washington, D.C./Saint John’s High): I’m going with Johnny Manziel. I think he’s more dynamic, and more of a game-changer. Jameis Winston is a great quarterback too, but you have to think about all the dudes he has around him at FSU -- all the great receivers and good running backs. I would go with Manziel because if you put him on the Florida State team, or a stacked team like that, it would be a scary sight.

Best SEC recruiters 

October, 15, 2013
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Editor's note: For a look at the national recruiter power rankings based only on Class of 2014 success, click here.

It's no secret that Southeastern Conference has been the top conference in the country as far as recruiting over the last several years. The league currently has six teams ranked in the top 11 of the team recruiting rankings. Here's a look at the top 10 recruiters around the ultra-competitive conference.

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UA Game jersey tour: Sumner-Gardner

September, 13, 2013
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Senior safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner was presented his honorary game jersey Friday at West Mesquite High School in Mesquite, Texas, during the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2014 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game.

[+] EnlargeDylan Sumner-Gardner
Courtesy of IntersportDylan Sumner-Gardner is one of 90 players selected to compete in the seventh annual Under Armour All-America Game.
Sumner-Gardner, a Texas A&M commitment, is one of 90 players selected to compete in the seventh annual Under Armour All-America Game presented by American Family Insurance, a nationally televised competition spotlighting the country’s top high school seniors. The 2014 Under Armour All-America Game is set for 4 p.m. ET on Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be televised on ESPN.

“First off, I just want to thank God,” Sumner-Gardner said. “I want to thank my coaches, my teammates and everybody that came out."

West Mesquite coach Jeff Neill said it’s a great honor for the school to have its first Under Armour All-America selection.

“This is our second All-American, first Under Armour All-American and I know Dylan is really proud to have the opportunity to experience this, get to go to Orlando, get to experience that game and represent West Mesquite High School.” Neill said.

Following in the footsteps of the players that have come before him is a highlight for Sumner-Gardner.

“I’m looking forward to going out and having fun, playing with the best players in the nation … and get out of this Texas heat. That’s great to follow in the footsteps of Julio Jones and A.J. Green because they made it to the NFL, so hopefully one day I can make it to the NFL.” He said.

The 6-foot-1, 198-pound Sumner-Gardner is the No. 91 prospect overall and the No. 7 safety in the class. He committed to Texas A&M over offers from Clemson, Texas, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, TCU, LSU, Baylor and others.
Thursday’s commitments from ESPN 300 wide receiver Armanti Foreman (Texas City, Texas/Texas High) and brother D'Onta Foreman gave the Longhorns 21 commitments in 2014, leaving them just a few more spots to fill.
Here are a look at five positions of need that could help Texas put a bow on this class.


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If you want evidence as to why Texas A&M has one of the best recruiting classes in the nation, look no further than the latest ESPN 300.

Last season, the Aggies -- who had college football's No. 8 recruiting class -- hauled in 10 players in the 2013 ESPN 300.


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MESQUITE, Texas -- Good news, Texas A&M fans: Dylan Sumner-Gardner (Mesquite, Texas/West Mesquite) is back.

A bone bruise in his left knee has kept Sumner-Gardner sidelined since March. It even turned the ESPN 150 safety into the nation’s most recruited cameraman. Sumner-Gardner was expected to return to action June 15, in time for the upcoming Camp of Conquerors 7-on-7 Tournament.


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ESPN 150 targets: Texas A&M 

April, 18, 2013
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Myles GarrettWilliam Wilkerson/ESPN.comESPN 150 defensive end Myles Garrett is feeling strong, as his offer list is a who's who of elite Division I football programs.
Texas A&M has three commits in the 2014 ESPN 150, which was released today. Here's a look at the Aggies' top 10 targets in the ESPN 150, listed from highest to lowest ranked:

1. CB Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra)
5-foot-11, 183 pounds
ESPN 150 Rank: 5

Why they want him: Speed and athleticism. Jackson has most of what coaches want in a cornerback. His fluid hips, foot quickness and natural athleticism make him an elite prospect. Could wind up on the offensive side of the ball and said some schools are recruiting him as a receiver.

Who else wants him: Plenty of power programs have offered Jackson, including Florida, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oregon and USC.

Odds they get him: Jackson said he intends to visit Texas A&M this summer, so the Aggies will have their chance to impress the five-star prospect. USC and UCLA are also schools that the Illinois native is interested in but Aggies' secondary coach Marcel Yates has experience recruiting the West Coast from his days at Boise State and landed 2013 ESPN 150 receiver Sebastian LaRue for the Aggies earlier this year.


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The Nike Football Training Camp series will continue outside of Dallas on Sunday. Athletes will trek to Allen, Texas, the home of one of the most impressive high school stadiums in the country. Allen Eagles Stadium, a $60-million facility, opened last year and featured nearly 22,000 fans watching Texas powers Allen and Southlake Carroll clash.

Here are five storylines to watch on Sunday.

Talented DBs aplenty

It’s been said on multiple occasions that the 2014 class may be one of the strongest in years at producing big-time defensive backs in the region. The battle for defensive back MVP has the potential of being extremely competitive with players such as Laurence Jones (Monroe, La./Neville), Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron), Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen), Steven Parker (Jenks, Okla./Jenks) and Arrion Springs (San Antonio/Roosevelt) expected to be in attendance. Chris Hardeman (Houston/Alief Taylor) has committed to LSU, while Dylan Sumner-Gardner (Mesquite, Texas/West Mesquite) and Armani Watts (Forney, Texas/North Forney) have pledged to Texas A&M. Deionte Thompson (Orange, Texas/West Orange-Stark), a 2015 prospect, has verbally committed to Alabama. All of the DBs will have their shots in one-on-one drills against equally talented ESPN Watch List receivers such as Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis), K.D. Cannon (Mount Pleasant, Texas/Mount Pleasant) and Texas commit Lorenzo Joe (Abilene, Texas/Cooper).


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Weekly Commitment Roundup 

March, 8, 2013
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ACC
Florida State
Blake McClain DE Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood
HT: 6-3 WT: 250

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Texas A&M's second junior day of the year has gotten better as the hours have passed.

After scoring two commitments in the afternoon, a third 2014 player is on board in the form of Nederland (Texas) High School defensive tackle DeShawn Washington. At 6-foot-3 and 275 pounds, Washington is the 10th commitment in the Aggies' 2014 class and the first defensive tackle.

On his Twitter account, Washington posted "It's official, I'm going to be a Aggie," and also confirmed his commitment via text message to GigEmNation. He was one of several prospects in attendance at Texas A&M's junior day on Saturday in College Station, Texas. He joins Dylan Sumner-Gardner and Armani Watts as prospects who gave their pledge to the Aggies on Saturday.

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Texas A&M picked up a solid defensive back in Dylan Sumner-Gardner (Mesquite, Texas/West Mesquite) -- someone who, if needed, can play both positions in the secondary -- Saturday afternoon. Later in the day, the Aggies picked up a player who can see time at several positions on both sides of the ball.


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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.


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S Sumner-Gardner impressed by Texas 

February, 24, 2013
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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.”


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