In what may be the steal of the recruiting season, New Mexico State landed a commitment on Sunday from Paradise Valley senior quarterback Daniel Bridge-Gadd, who has emerged as maybe the best dual-threat quarterback in Arizona in the early part of the year.
He announced his commitment Sunday on social media
After another brilliant performance, in which he passed for 323 yards and three touchdowns and ran for two scores in a 51-13 rout of Phoenix Sunnyslope, Bridge-Gadd, 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, was driven by his family to Las Cruces, N.M., for his weekend visit.
So impressed, he gave a commitment.
“It happened really fast and surprised even us,” said Elaine, his mom. “He had another official visit (Eastern Washington) scheduled for next week.
“It was his fourth visit there (to New Mexico State), and I knew as his mom that he felt most comfortable there after each visit. We were saying out goodbyes and heading out, and Daniel just said to Coach (Doug) Martin that he wanted to be an Aggie. He spent some time with several players over the two days and really connected with them.
“He’s happy to be away from home so he can spread his wings but be close enough so that we can make all of his home games and he can come home pretty much any weekend he wants when it’s not football season.”
Bridge-Gadd first visited New Mexico State in May.
“They were the first school to believe in me,” he said. “They said that I could be the player who turns that program around. I like the players there. I got to hang out with them and really connected with them.”
Paradise Valley coach Greg Davis said he was surprised by the timing, but not the school Bridge-Gadd chose.
“The coaches at New Mexico State made a lasting image on him,” Davis said. “He loved the family feel of the school from the get go.”
Bridge-Gadd never got a major-conference school offer. He said he was disappointed that both Arizona State and Arizona didn’t show interest until recently.
“They started toward the end, but if they wanted me they would have come in sooner,” Bridge-Gadd said. “I didn’t want to be anyone’s third or fourth option.”
Elaine said that Daniel’s 10-year-old brother Peyton knew from Daniel’s very first visit that he should go to New Mexico State.
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“He has been encouraging him to commit there for a while,” Elaine said.
Bridge-Gadd is hoping to room with Scottsdale Chaparral strong safety Kurt Shughart in college. Shughart gave New Mexico State a commitment this summer.
In a 4-0 start, Bridge-Gadd has thrown for 1,015 yards and 12 touchdowns with three interceptions. He has completed 59 of 95 passes for 62 percent. He had 117 rushing yards and 354 passing yards and five touchdowns two weeks ago in a 33-21 win over then No.1-ranked (Division III) Goodyear Desert Edge.
He is the fifth senior quarterback in Arizona to commit to a Division I college.
The others are Scottsdale Saguaro’s Kare’ Lyles (Wisconsin), Phoenix Brophy Prep’s Cade Knox (Harvard), Phoenix Mountain Pointe’s Jack Smith (UNLV) and Chandler’s Mason Moran (Oregon State).
Reach Obert at email@example.com or 602-460-1710. Follow him at twitter.com/azc_obert, Listen to the Which Wich High School Football Preview Show every Friday from 6-7 p.m., on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060 with Dan Manucci and Richard Obert.