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Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Scout's take: Garrett a perfect fit for LSU

By Craig Haubert

Inside linebacker Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South) committed to LSU on Tuesday, giving the Tigers their 12th ESPN 300 commit. The No. 37 player in the ESPN 300 gives coach Les Miles a tough run defender.

What will make him so effective in Baton Rouge? Let's break it down:

What he brings: Garrett brings a physical presence to the linebacker position with the ability to be a real tough run defender. He possesses good size at this stage with a frame that can continue to support more good mass. A player that displays a nose for the ball, the ESPN 300 linebacker is at his best inside the hashes, playing downhill. He can react quickly to the ball and fill fast with the ability to violently take on blockers and blow-up inside run plays. While excelling as a fast-filling, downhill player he does possess enough speed to be a factor on the perimeter. With his attacking style he can develop into a disruptive blitzer and while he could have some limitations in coverage, he does show flashes and has the tools to be effective in underneath zone coverage. The four-star prospect can also be a punishing wrap-up tackler.

How he fits: The Tigers might have gone outside their SEC recruiting base to get Garrett, but this prospect out of Illinois is still a very good fit. In a conference that was home to five of the top 30 rushing offenses in the country this season, the No. 3-ranked ILB brings the tools be a tough defender. The top three tacklers for the Tigers in 2013 were all linebackers including leading tackler, senior Lamin Barrow. For a program that has traditionally fielded very good defenses, Garrett possesses the ability to develop into real productive player for this unit at LB as well, like Barrow this season and Kevin Minter, Kelvin Sheppard and Perry Riley in the past.

Prediction for performance: There is room for improvement physically as well as technically, but Garrett displays the tools to be able to make the jump to the next level and begin to contribute. As a freshman, he could be a good special teams player and play a role on defense. D.J. Welter returns, but he will be senior and Kendell Beckwith is a promising player in the mix who was among the top prospects in the 2013, so this is not a group in need of an immediate impact freshman. Garrett, however, can still be a factor in Year 1 with the ability to develop into yet another highly productive and very good LSU linebacker during his career.

How the class is shaping up: There is still some excellent talent available within the state of Louisiana and, if LSU can keep several of those key remaining targets at home, this class could still rise up the rankings. While many have their eyes on some of the big targets still out there, the Tigers in the meantime have assembled a strong class that features 12 ESPN 300 commits. Seven of those prospects are from in state with Garrett now being their highest rated out-of-state pickup. Garrett is also the Tigers' second ESPN 300 LB commit, joining No. 19 OLB Donnie Alexander.