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Friday, April 12, 2013
SEC has Watch List linebacker's attention

By Jared Shanker

When the SEC comes calling, recruits tend to listen. It is no different with ESPN Watch List linebacker Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South).

Garrett will visit Alabama and LSU on consecutive days next weekend, checking out the Crimson Tide on Friday before going to Baton Rouge for the LSU spring game Saturday.

“They’re going to be very exciting, rival schools, two top teams, going to be crazy,” Garrett said. “Seeing both back to back and kind of comparing the two, it’ll be a great trip.”

LSU offered Garrett back on Feb. 21, and the Tigers immediately made a move toward the top of Garrett’s board. He spoke with Les Miles the night the Tigers offered, and he will speak with Miles at least once more before Saturday. The LSU coach told Garrett to expect a phone call first thing Monday when programs can make one phone call to juniors during the spring evaluation period, which begins April 15 and runs through May.

He already speaks frequently with defensive coordinator John Chavis.

“We have pretty good conversations and have a good relationship,” Garrett said. “I just want to go down and see them in person, see where they want me fitting in the defensive scheme.”

Alabama assistant coach Bobby Williams has been in touch with Garrett, letting the 6-foot-2, 225-pound linebacker know the Tide are definitely interested. The Tide have not offered Garrett, but one could come soon.

“I want to talk with Coach [Nick] Saban and my position coach and see where they see me fitting in and how they’re looking at me,” Garrett said. “I want to go down and talk with them one on one. It’ll be the first time I sit down and talk with them.”

With more than 20 offers, Garrett has not officially cut his list but he said the SEC has his attention at the moment. Conference programs Florida, Tennessee, Texas A&M are among the other SEC schools to offer, and he recently visited Ole Miss.

A few Pac-12 teams to recently offer have caught Garrett’s eye, too.

Ohio State is a program Garrett has always spoken highly of, and he named the Buckeyes as his leader earlier in the process, but Ohio State has landed two linebackers in the last week.

“They picked up two linebackers in the 2014 class and signed two more in the 2013 class,” Garrett said. “They’re starting to fill up at linebacker, but I already know what Ohio State has to offer. My focus is shifting to [visiting] the SEC and getting out to USC and UCLA.”