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Thursday, April 25, 2013
LSU commit Brumfield a quick study

By Gary Laney

BATON ROUGE -- Meet the artist, Garrett Brumfield (Baton Rouge, La./University Laboratory School).

It's easy to find online, the video of LSU's latest football commitment using some spray paint and a handful of improvised tools to create what he calls his "space painting."

It's pretty impressive for a high school junior and makes one wonder, is he going to be the rare football-playing art major at LSU?

Not at all.

"To be honest, it was something I found browsing on YouTube and I said to myself 'I can do that,' and tried it out," said Brumfield, who said he'll be a Sports Administration major in college.

Painting isn't a lifelong passion, but rather his hobby of the moment and it shows perhaps the under-appreciated quality LSU gained when the ESPN 150 offensive guard chose the Tigers after Saturday's spring game.

"He has a high aptitude," said University coach Chad Mahaffey of Brumfield. "He's a guy who's going to be able to play a lot of positions along the offensive line. He isn't one of those guys who's going to take years to just learn one position. He's going to pick it up."

Garrett Brumfield
Don't let his penchant for art fool you -- LSU OL commit Garrett Brumfield can get after it.
His handiwork in the painting project is an example of Brumfield's ability to learn quickly. Mahaffey said Brumfield scored a 20 on his ACT in eighth grade. And was a quick study of "U-High's" offense, which allowed him to thrive as a starter in the Cubs' offensive line as a sophomore.

"He'll be able to play anywhere on the offensive line," Mahaffey said. "He might hit a growth spurt and play tackle. He's never played center, but some people think that's where he'll end up and if they ask him, he can do it. Or, he might hit a growth spurt and play tackle."

As quickly as he picks up on things, it's no wonder he picked LSU quickly after seeming wide open not long ago.

Brumfield said he picked the Tigers over Alabama and Florida after entering the recruiting process thinking he'd probably head away from Baton Rouge for college.

Tucked between LSU"s law school, student apartments and fraternity houses, University Lab is a K-12 school that makes it possible for students to spend their entire scholastic experience -- from kindergarten through a doctorate degree -- on the same campus.

Staying there that long isn't for everybody, and early in the process -- particularly after visiting Florida last fall for the Gators' 14-6 win over LSU -- it appeared Brumfield was ready to embrace the idea of leaving home.

But being so close to LSU's program also allowed Brumfield to see the advantages of staying home and, just like painting, figuring out that it was the right fit for him happened rather quickly.

"There are a lot of great connections you can make just being on (LSU's) team," Brumfield said. "They have a great program. They have a lot of guys who can get in there and play and there's an opportunity get in there and play early, get in there and compete for a spot, so that's always a great thing."

Brumfield said that the day before the NFL draft, which might have a record-breaking number of Tigers picked after 11 third-year players opted to leave school to try their luck in the draft. The increasing frequency of early departures means increased chances to play early.

Which brings us back to what might be Brumfield's biggest advantage at a program such as LSU, the fact that he's a quick study.

Clearly, the physical tools are there. Don't let his penchant for creating art fool you, Brumfield plays with the desired mean streak coaches are looking for from an offensive lineman. He honed his abilities practicing daily as a left tackle against defensive end Tim Williams, a 2013 ESPN 150 prospect who, unlike Brumfield, did opt to leave his hometown to play for Alabama.

"He was a great guy," Brumfield said "He could speed rush, power rush, things like that, so he would get me adjusted to things I'd see on Friday nights."

As a senior, he'll block for 2015 running back Nick Brossette, one of Louisiana's top players in the class behind him. As Brumfield wraps up his career, he'll be sharing the field with Dylan Moses, the 2017 prospect who made national news by landing LSU and Alabama offers before his eighth grade year.

"It's just one of those coincidental things," Mahaffey said. "There are just a lot of talented guys here now."

Mahaffey can only hopes they all pick up on the art of the game as quickly as Brumfield.