August 26, 2011

Texas athlete enjoys Fort Collins

With the ability to run a 4.49 in the 40-yard dash at 6-1 and 205 pounds, Hayden Gardner is gaining some attention in recruiting circles for his play on both sides of the ball. The Friendswood High School (Tex.) senior has been tabbed as both a quarterback as well as a strong safety.

Gardner's time under center is limited to spring practice as he played safety for Friendswood last year and will debut as the school's signalcaller this fall. Colorado State has been in contact with Gardner and is interested in him as a strong safety. Gardner went to the Rams' camp last month and came away with a strong impression of Fort Collins and CSU.

"It was a major eye opener," Gardner said of his time in Colorado. "Fort Collins and the Colorado State campus were awesome. It was my first time coming to Colorado and I couldn't be happier. The campus was awesome and the weather was nice. People couldn't be nicer."

Gardner said the Ram coaching staff has told him they like his athletic ability and his size, not to mention his footwork. However, they were not ready to offer a scholarship yet.

"They said what most of the schools are saying," Gardner said. "The want to see my first three or four games on film before they make any decisions on anything. They want to see how I do my senior season."

Currently, Gardner holds a scholarship offer from Wagner and is hearing from TCU, Georgia Tech, Cornell, Dartmouth, Penn, Holy Cross and Colorado State. He said Dartmouth, Cornell, TCU, Penn and Georgia Tech stand out already.

"Education is number one," he said when asked what he is looking for in a college. "I am looking for a business major, so I am looking from school-to-school to see the education placement. I like being in the South, but I would move for the right school."

Given his move to starting varsity quarterback, Gardner said he isn't sure if he will see much time at safety, but will likely play some defense for a Friendswood team that was 13-2 a year ago and lost in the state semifinals.

"I am real excited to get the season started," he said. "I've been working on it for a long time to be the varsity quarterback."

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