- Sam Khan Jr., ESPN Staff Writer
HOUSTON -- Manvel (Texas) High School cornerback Tavares Garner was one of the best defensive players the Greater Houston area had to offer in 2012. He has the video to prove it.
Highlights of his season were played on Wednesday at the J.W. Marriott during the Touchdown Club of Houston's annual High School Awards Dinner, where Garner was one of 10 finalists for the Clark Nealon Defensive Player of the Year award.
The 5-foot-10, 165-pound, three-star prospect, who is committed to Texas A&M, finished the year with five interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. He also didn't allow a touchdown pass to be thrown against him during the season.
Though he didn't take home the award, he was flattered to be among the finalists.
"It's an honor," Garner said. "There's a lot of good guys out here, a lot of good guys. Shane McCarley, Deon Hollins, they really deserve it. There's some great guys here going to some good colleges, so it's going to be a blessing to see them play in college."
Garner, who has been a solid commit to Texas A&M throughout the fall, is excited about what he is seeing happen in College Station, Texas. The Heisman Trophy honor that quarterback Johnny Manziel won had Garner thrilled.
"I was very excited," Garner said. "That's just going to bring more recruits to A&M. I love that. It was awesome."
Seeing the recent commitments jump on board, including the additions of 2013 prospect Ricky Seals-Jones and 2014 prospect Hoza Scott last week, Garner said he can see the momentum building for the Aggies in recruiting.
"We're getting some good guys on board," Garner said. "Hoza Scott, Ricky Seals-Jones. Me and Ricky have been talking on Twitter, going back and forth with each other. We're just going to get down there and ball in College Station."
Garner has his Texas A&M official visit set for Jan. 11, and he can't wait to watch the AT&T Cotton Bowl to see the Aggies take on Oklahoma. And in the meantime, he and his teammate, Oklahoma commit Austin Bennett, are trying to sway one of their 2014 teammates, Koda Martin, to join them in college. Martin, a 2014 ESPN Watch List tight end, has a top two of Oklahoma and Texas A&M.
"Austin Bennett has been trying to recruit him for OU, and I'm trying to recruit him for A&M," Garner said. "I hope he gets on board with A&M, because I would love to have him."
5dSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
6dEdward Aschoff and Greg Ostendorf