Bailey Gaither, the speedy standout on both the Paso Robles High football and baseball teams, announced on Twitter on Wednesday evening that he has verbally committed to San Jose State.
“Verbally committed to San Jose State University! #SpartanUp,” he wrote.
The reigning baseball player of the year in the county and the receiving yards leader in the CIF-Southern Section, Gaither made the decision two days after the Spartans became the seventh school to offer him an athletic scholarship.
“It was my best offer and it’s close to home, which is great.” Gaither said in a phone interview Thursday. “I like their style of play, and I grew up in the Bay Area as a kid.”
Through seven games on the gridiron this season, Gaither has 916 yards receiving and 14 total touchdowns, including a 71-yard scoop-and-score on an Arroyo Grande fumble and the ensuing go-ahead two-point conversion to give the Bearcats an improbable 28-27 victory this past week.
Gaither, who moved to Paso Robles from Los Gatos in third grade, said the Spartans are looking at him as a wide receiver, but “I’d love to contribute any way I could.”
“Right now,” he added, “I’m focused on this season. We’ve got a great thing going, and when the time comes (to play college football), I can’t wait.”
A representative from San Jose State was at that game to scout Gaither as well as check in on his Bearcat teammate Josh Oliver, a 6-foot-5 tight end and linebacker who also committed to the Spartans in August.
“Ever since sixth grade we’ve been best friends, so it’s awesome I get to enjoy the ride with him,” Gaither said.
Oliver took to Twitter to voice his excitement shortly after Gaither posted his announcement, saying that it is “wild” the two will be playing together for four more years.
According to Rivals.com, Gaither’s other offers included Cal Poly, Montana State, New Hampshire and Wyoming.
Gaither said he had been in touch with San Jose State since late in his sophomore year, and he attended the Spartans’ Junior Day last year with Oliver. He did not take an official visit, but he was always attracted to the prospect of playing Division I Mountain West Conference football in the area he grew up and still has family.
“It was just the best fit for me,” he said.
The 6-foot-1, 172-pounder hit .500 with 40 runs, 32 stolen bases and 21 RBI for the PAC 7-champion Bearcats this past spring, but said he has “no idea right now” if he will pursue a spot on the Spartans baseball team.
“It’s humbling just to know all these things are happening,” Gaither said. “I’m glad I made my decision. I’m happy with it, and I know it’s something that I won’t regret.”
BOYS WATER POLO
Morro Bay 7, Santa Maria 5
Travis Chirman shouldered the load offensively for the Pirates (9-12, 3-0 Los Padres League), scoring six of their seven goals.
Jack Krull made 11 saves.
Nipomo 268, Santa Maria 329
Brooke Cuzick shot a 45 to lead the Titans at the par-36 front nine at Monarch Dunes Golf Course.
Erin Shusterich followed with a 52 for Nipomo (6-0, 5-0 LPL), and Paige Johnson and Cora Franks both had 53s.
Editor’s Note: Given the number of local teams, The Tribune can’t cover all of their events in person and relies on coaches to report results. If there is no information on your team or sport, it is because the coaching staff failed to report it to us.
Tribune staff contributed to this report.