UW football’s 2014 recruiting class was down to five players before coach Chris Petersen offered safety Darren Gardenhire (Long Beach, CA) Monday morning.
The Washington State football program held Darren Gardenhire’s verbal commitment for a little more than three weeks before losing it to the cross-state rival. Monday, new UW coach Chris Petersen offered a scholarship to Gardenhire, a senior safety from Long Beach, CA. A few hours later, Gardenhire wrote via his Twitter account he wanted to be a Husky.
Proud To announce my Last and Final Commitment to the University of Washington. Thank god for this… http://t.co/mnIeftCdeP
— Darren Gardenhire. (@GbabyBOOM) December 16, 2013
Ranked three stars and the 94th safety in the country by Scout.com, Gardenhire verbally committed to San Jose State before flipping to the Cougars after an official visit to Pullman in late November. Gardenhire’s cousin, UW backup RB Dwayne Washington, was a major reason he changed his mind a second time.
Congrats to my Cousin committed to UW earlier today. Once a dawg always a dawg! @GbabyBOOM follow up !
— Dwayne Washingon (@UWdwayne12) December 16, 2013
Gardenhire is six-foot-one, 200 pounds and holds a 75 of 100 grade from ESPN’s recruiting site (ESPN ranks him the 87th best safety in the country). At Cabrillo (Juan Rodriguez) High School, Gardenhire returned punts and kicks, flashing speed that helped him garner offers from Boise State, Colorado, Fresno State and Utah, among others.
Gardenhire’s latest change-of-heart will likely irk some WSU fans, especially those that remember RB Bishop Sankey switching his verbal commitment from WSU to UW a few weeks before National Signing Day.
Meanwhile, Petersen has some catching up to do after landing his first recruit (assuming Gardenhire doesn’t change his mind again) as Huskies coach. UW’s 2014 recruiting class was whittled to five players after Steve Sarkisian left for USC.