Senior Antuan Gardner Signs with Youngstown State University

On the first day of the early signing period for college football’s National Signing Day, Niles McKinley High’s Antuan Gardner makes his commitment to Youngstown State University, official! “I’m so excited,” Gardner said with a huge smile just before the event. “I can’t wait to get started!”

Gardner is the first Niles McKinley High School student-athlete in seventeen years to commit during the early signing period. This three-day window, which ends Friday, December 23, 2023, allows high school recruits to sign their national letters of intent early, locking them into the college of their choice. Gardner formally signed his letter in the McKinley High gym in front of family, friends, teammates, teachers, coaches, and school administrators during a special signing ceremony. He thanked those in attendance for all of their support during his career and throughout the recruiting process. “YSU just feels like home,” Gardner said when asked why he chose YSU. “I really like the campus and facilities. Everyone on the team, from the players to the coaches, is great. I like being there.”

Gardner says he’s ready and willing to step into any role YSU wants him to play, but hopes to continue in that running back position he’s excelled at in Niles. This year, the senior had a career season for the Red Dragons setting school records for most career rushing yards (5,024), most yards in a year (2,461), most career touchdowns (65), and most touchdowns in a year (32). He is also now the school’s all-time leading scorer, tallying a total of 390 points over his four-year high school career. He was named Player of the Year by Your Sports Network (YSN), Big 22, the Trumbull County Coaches Association, and the NE8 Conference; he also earned All-Northeast Inland and All-Ohio first-team honors.

In addition to football, Gardner is also a member of the boys’ basketball team and participates in track and field for the Red Dragons. He maintains a 3.5 GPA. At YSU, Gardner says he plans to study Business Administration while working toward his ultimate goal of getting drafted into the NFL.

Congratulations, Antuan!
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