- Jeremy Crabtree, RecruitingNation
Ok, Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State fans, do you want the good news or the bad news first?
Let’s get the bad news out of the way. The bad news is that your favorite school missed out on landing five-star defensive end Myles Garrett (Arlington, Texas/Martin). The 6-foot-5, 247-pound Garrett committed to Texas A&M Friday, giving the Aggies the No. 7 player and one of best defenders in the 2014 class.
Garrett’s commitment bolsters an Aggies class that was already one of the best in the nation, and some recruiters say his pledge firmly establishes Texas A&M as the "in" school for the Lone Star State’s top talent.
If Garrett develops like he is projected to, it could be bad news for SEC quarterbacks for the next four years. We all know what a difference a dominating defensive end can make in the SEC, and A&M fans are already talking about what impact Garrett will make for a defense that ranks last in the SEC in quarterback sacks and 11th in total defense.
Let’s shift to the positive side of things for those schools that missed out.
The success of Alabama, Florida State or Ohio State’s classes weren’t going to depend on one single player, and everybody involved in Garrett’s recruitment knew for months that he was a major lean toward A&M. The Tide currently has the No. 1 class, Florida State is at No. 2 and Ohio State is at No. 9, so there’s already plenty of talent heading to Tuscaloosa, Tallahassee and Columbus. Plus, all three teams have also done a decent job of recruiting defensive linemen the past few seasons, especially at the premium defensive tackle spot. All three highly coveted Garrett, and his addition would have been a big boost, but coaches at those schools knew this day was coming and have recruited around it for weeks.
Another good thing is that all of the schools have other needs that are more important to fill than defensive end, and they’re in good shape with many elite players at those spots.
The Tide’s main focus on defensive line is at tackle, and that’s why guys like four-star Matt Elam (Elizabethtown, Ky./Hardin) and three-star Charles Mosley (Brighton, Tenn./Brighton) are priority players. Elam looks to be an Alabama-Kentucky battle, and the Wildcats are pushing hard to keep him at home. Molsey has said a number of times he was about to commit to the Tide, but he hasn’t yet for one reason or another. Tennessee has moved into the lead for him, but he will be back in Tuscaloosa in a few weeks, so the Tide has a chance to change momentum again.
And let’s not forget the Tide are running second for the nation’s No. 1 defensive end and No. 4 player overall, Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge). Michigan is the leader for him now, but Nick Saban has changed a mind or two on official visits in the past.
Florida State’s focus for the rest of the 2014 class is at offensive tackle, where guys like Damian Prince (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara), Roderick Johnson (Florissant, Mo./Hazelwood Central) and Chad Mavety (Garden City, N.Y./Nassau Community College) are high-priority prospects. But Florida State continues to pursue Kentavius Street (Greenville, N.C./Rose) at defensive end, even though N.C. State leads. Street, the No. 33 player in the country, is scheduled to visit Tallahassee the weekend FSU faces Miami.
Landing Garrett would have been a nice luxury for the Buckeyes, because they already have a commitment from four-star Jalyn Holmes (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor), the No. 16 defensive end. While he doesn’t rate as high as Garrett, Holmes was a major recruiting victory for Ohio State. For the Bucks, landing more depth at offensive tackle and linebacker are the biggest focuses the rest of the 2014 class. Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County) remains Ohio State’s No. 1 target at linebacker, and the Bucks are also pushing for Prince and Mavety at tackle.
So while the Garrett news wasn’t what Tide, Noles or Buckeyes fans wanted to hear Friday, in the end, there’s a lot more good news than bad.
3hJosh Moyer and Dan Murphy