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Gardenhire-Washington has a “Dream School”

By Matt Osborne
SouthernPigskin.com
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De'Andre Gardenhire-Washington, who was recently named the Top Performer at the MVP Camp in Valdosta, grew up dreaming of playing for one particular college program.

For a second consecutive year, the MVP Camp in Valdosta proved to be very kind to 2016 defensive end prospect De’Andre Gardenhire-Washington from Camden County High School in Kingsland, Georgia.

Less than 365 days after being recognized as the top underclassman performer at the 2013 MVP Camp, Gardenhire-Washington did one better in his second appearance at the event, earning the award as the camp’s top overall performer.

Rather than letting his outstanding performance at the 2013 MVP Camp go to his head, Gardenhire-Washington used it as fuel to become a stronger and faster player as a sophomore.

“I got bigger and better over the last year,” Gardenhire-Washington commented on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network. “One of my goals was to win top performer this year, so I was just glad that I was able to accomplish one of my goals.”

A long and lean athlete, Gardenhire-Washington plays defensive end in Camden County’s three-defensive linemen front, although he is projected as a pass-rushing outside linebacker in college.

Predominantly due to the fact that he has been playing in a position which is more focused on gap-control than it is pure penetration, Gardenhire-Washington has yet to receive his first scholarship offer. That does not mean that he has not been contacted by college programs, however, as Florida and Georgia are amongst a handful of collegiate teams that maintain frequent contact.

After yet another dominant performance on the camp circuit, Gardenhire-Washington’s recruitment appears to be on the verge of blowing up, and it is with good reason.

Gardenhire-Washington displays an explosive burst of speed and quickness off of the snap, and has a variety of pass-rushing moves which he uses to maneuver his way to the quarterback. He has also worked incredibly hard in the weight room in order to add strength to what is already a well-built physical frame.

His athletic prowess was never on better display than when he lined up against 2015 prospect Tony Taylor, who was named the Top Performer at offensive line for the camp, for a pair of one-on-one matchups to conclude the day’s activities.

With the entire camp gathered around, Gardenhire-Washington easily defeated Taylor on back-to-back reps, working the crowd into a frenzy in the process.

“Before I lined up against him, I was just thinking, ‘How am I going to beat this guy’,” Gardenhire-Washington recalled of his camp battle. “Hard work pays off. You just get better and better. But that’s your goal every time you are in a competition: to beat the guy across from you.”

As Gardenhire-Washington’s recruitment assuredly begins to heat up, he will undoubtedly have his choice of a wide variety of colleges across the country.

And while he is nowhere near ready to yet a name an early leader, he did grow up following one particular program with great interest.

“Definitely Georgia,” Gardenhire-Washington responded when asked if he had a “dream school” or a school he followed closely growing up. “My cousin, J.J. Green, goes there, so that is definitely a place I would want to go. That is a place I’ve thought about going to since I was in little league.”

There is still plenty of time for things to change in his recruitment, but is does appear that, for the time being, the Bulldogs have the inside track for Gardenhire-Washington’s services.

The competition will certainly get more intense as time passes, though, as he is sure to become one of the hottest commodities in the country in short notice.

Matt Osborne - Matt Osborne currently serves as the director of recruiting and lead editor for Southern Pigskin. His work has been published in a number of national publications, including USA Today. Although he loves all levels of football, Matt's number one joy in his life is his relationship with Jesus Christ. Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattOsborne200. For media requests, please email Matt at matt@southernpigskin.com.