My’Keil Gardner took his five official visits. He took his time with the recruiting process. The defensive lineman out of Peoria (Ari.) Liberty compared the pros and cons between California, Michigan, Oregon, Texas, and Wisconsin.
Each school impressed the 6-foot-3, 275-pound three-star, but as he progressed through the summer, it came down to the Wolverines and the Ducks. A few weeks ago, Michigan was in the lead, but towards the end of July, Oregon pulled ahead.
“I went back and forth, debating for a while between those two schools, and about two or so weeks ago, I knew it was Oregon,” Gardner told On3. “The more I thought about it, it kind of worked itself out.
“I was leaning towards Michigan for a while earlier this summer, but Oregon really came on strong. The relationships with the coaches, the fit for me with the people, and how I relate to everyone there really put them on top.”
The relationships Gardner built pushed Oregon to the top
Defensive line coach Tony Tuioti was Gardner’s lead recruiter. He played a big role in this commitment. Tosh Lupoi was involved as well. Head coach Dan Lanning and defensive analyst Kamran Araghi were important too.
The people in Eugene made Gardner feel at home.
“I visited Oregon four times, and every time I was there, it got better,” Gardner said. “It was that home feeling for me there. The way all are together, how they care about each other, and how they all want to be there made it the place for me.
“The coaches, the players, and the people at Oregon were all part of my decision. Everyone was happy, all are about the team, and those relationships put them over the top for me.”
It wasn’t always about the smiles or the happiness either. Garner saw something else he liked with the coaching staff.
“The Oregon coaches have that chip on their shoulders. They know it is their first year, so they want to show everyone what Oregon can do. The coaches have a plan, they know what they want to do, and I love the attitude they have. I know coach Lanning and the coaches are going to do great things at Oregon.”
My’Keil Gardner is excited about the future in Eugene
One of Gardner’s visits to Oregon was for the spring game in April. He got a glimpse of what the fan base is like. He saw the atmosphere inside Autzen Stadium. It is something he can’t wait to be a part of.
“I saw that energy at Oregon,” Gardner said. “I loved what I saw. The fans are great and I just felt that energy at the spring game. They love the team, that environment is great, and I have dreamed about making big plays in big games in an atmosphere like that.”
Gardner said the Oregon staff likes his versatility. He is planning to move around along the defensive front and work hard to make an impact wherever the staff lines him up.