Wednesday, June 26, 2013
No. 3 ILB Garrett has five standing out
By Derek Tyson
BRADENTON, Fla. -- ESPN 300 linebacker Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield) is one of the most sought-after inside linebackers in the country, ranked third at his position and No. 59 overall in the 2014 class. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound prospect visited Florida with some of his 7-on-7 teammates before they played in the IMG 7v7 National Championships in Bradenton, Fla., over the weekend.
The four-star linebacker said he was blown away by his time in Gainesville.
“It was real good," Garrett said. "I went down there with my team, had a chance to talk to Coach Muschamp -- had a chance to hang out with (Antonio Morrison) for a little bit. Then after that, me and Coach [Will] Muschamp and Coach [D.J.] Durkin went up to Coach Muschamp’s office and had a chance to sit down and talk about things, where they see me fitting and different schemes and stuff like that if I do decide to commit to Florida.
Linebacker Clifton Garrett of Illinois once had a top three of Ohio State, Notre Dame and Michigan State, but his updated top five is completely different.
“I loved it; I had a good time down there. Coach Muschamp is a really good dude. We have a real good relationship over the phone. We talk all the time, basically weekly -- me, him and Coach Durkin. I finally had a chance to meet them in person so that was really cool. I loved it down there. They have really nasty defenses. They play just the way I like to play, real physical, fast -- they win championships.”
Morrison, also from Illinois, had a chance to talk to Garrett about his experience and what he thinks of Florida.
“He was just telling me he loves it down there," Garrett said. "He said he would love for me to come down there and play right next to him. Two Illinois natives playing right next to each other in the SEC -- it doesn’t get much better than that."
After his visit, Garrett now has five schools, LSU, Florida, USC, Ole Miss and Tennessee, that are standing out to him. So what will it take for one school to take the lead over the rest?
“For me, every school has the nice facilities and everything, so I want to go down with a great recruiting class," Garrett said. "I want to come down with a legendary class.
“I want to be around great people, great coaching staff, great players that are already there, and I want to be around a great environment. I don’t want any negative activity or anything like that; I want to go down to a positive program that’s doing everything right.”
LSU has always been near the top of Garrett's list and they might even have the early advantage for his services. Garrett said his relationship with LSU coaches is one of the major reasons he thinks so highly of the Tigers.
“LSU, they’re always in the running for a national championship each year," he said. "They have a really good defense. Coach [John] Chavis is a really good defensive coordinator and he’d be a really good linebackers coach to me. We have a really good relationship. I also have a really good relationship with Coach [Les] Miles as well.
“I love it down there. I want to probably get back down there hopefully some time this summer. If I don’t, I’ll be taking an official down there for sure.”
Garrett is planning to see LSU again soon and would like to visit Tennessee sometime over the summer. Garrett also said he wants to take an official visit to Florida when they face Tennessee in September.
“I’m going to start thinking really hard after I take those officials," he said, "after the season and everything -- but I’ll probably make my decision in January at the Army All-American Bowl."