Steve Gardiner, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound, four-star linebacker from Coffman High School in Dublin, Ohio, says he now favors West Virginia and Pittsburgh.
The Mountaineers and Panthers lead solidly over Northwestern, Vanderbilt and Cincinnati. All of these favorites have offered (12 total) Scout.com's No. 17 weakside linebacker.
"I'm not taking any official visits until after the season," he said. "I plan to set up the trips soon though. I've been really busy with football and now that our playoffs have started we're going to be playing on Saturdays, so it's hard to schedule official trips."
Gardiner attended the West Virginia/Mississippi State game on Oct. 20. "I think that West Virginia is a good school and it's definitely still on the rise," Gardiner said. "They've had a couple good years now and I love the atmosphere there. Even though it wasn't a very close game, the people were still very into it and they really love the team. West Virginia football is really all they have and it's a big family over there."
He was also in attendance for the Pittsburgh home opener on Sept. 1 against Eastern Michigan. "I really like the coaches at Pittsburgh a lot," he said. "I enjoy being around them, especially (secondary) coach Chris Ball. He's really nice and they have a program that is rebuilding and I think with a few good recruiting classes they'll be up-and-coming.
"I like Pittsburgh because it's just a great city," he said. "It's a fun place."
As a youngster, Gardiner always followed Ohio State. "I grew up in central Ohio and you can't really cheer for any other team but Ohio State in this area," he said. "I like Ohio State a lot, but they haven't offered yet. I still hear from them though and they said they are just waiting to see what some of the other guys they've already offered do."
Michigan State is another school that hasn't offered yet, but Gardiner is also very interested in the Spartans. "If either Ohio State or Michigan State offer me, they'll definitely be in my top five."
Gardiner says he won't make a decision until after he takes a few official visits.
Coffman High School is trying for a perfect season and is currently 10-0 and will be starting the playoffs next week.
"I'm not the biggest linebacker, but I have great speed and quickness," he said. "I'm a great athlete and not just some big guy that can't move. I have great agility, but I want to improve my overall strength and power."
He says he can bench 290 pounds and squat 450.
He reports a 3.5 core GPA and a 23 ACT.