Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill. Plainfield South) committed to LSU Wednesday afternoon giving the Tigers a commitment from the nation’s No. 1 ranked outside linebacker and momentum heading into the new year when LSU is expected to reel in a number of five-star recruits.
“I wanted to go down to LSU and play some real football in the SEC, Garrett told EdgyTim.com after his announcement when he donned an LSU shirt and hat and flashed two “L’s” with his hands.
Garrett had been expected to pick LSU over the Tennessee Volunteers, Ole Miss Rebels and Florida Gators dating back to the spring after Garrett visited for the Tiger’s spring game. He took official visits to each of the four schools this fall, but after his official visit to LSU on Nov. 22 confirmed the feelings he had in the spring, it was curtains on his recruitment. Garrett actually gave a silent commitment to LSU on this visit.
“I felt like the coaching staff was just phenomenal,” Garrett tells 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong. “You can’t pick a school off the coaching staff, but it made my decision a lot easier knowing I’m going to a place where I’m going to be taken care of by a great coaching staff, great guys that want to develop me not only as a player but as a man. They have my best interest 100 percent. I’m going to be going 14 hours away from the house, so it’s going to be great to know I’m going to a place where I feel at home and have people I can talk to if certain situations arise, or if I need something I can go to my coach.”
The 6-2, 230-pound Garrett is the nation’s No. 1 recruit in Illinois and the No. 28 player overall in 247SSports composite rankings. He will be playing in the middle where defensive coordinator John Chavis will have an instinctive tackling machine capable of making plays sideline-to-sideline as equally as being a downhill and physical presence.
Garrett will have the opportunity to earn some early playing time despite starting middle linebacker, D.J. Welter returning for his senior season after an unheralded junior season in 2013. Kwon Alexander returns at the Sam linebacker while Lamin Barrow departs after manning the Will spot, so there will be a spot open for Garrett to get some snaps.
I think it’s possible Garrett could start on the outside and work his way to the middle after Welter graduates or perhaps he even beats out the underrated Welter. He will make an impact as a freshman, but it’s his sophomore year that Garrett should make his name known around the SEC and the rest of the college football world with his play on the field.
With his size and bulk he reminds me of former LSU linebacker Kelvin Sheppard who turned into a third round pick in the NFL. His father, Clifton Garrett, Sr. sees some of NFL Hall of Fame middle linebacker Mike Singletary in his son while his son models his game after Ray Lewis and Patrick Willis.
Garrett has All-SEC potential at any linebacker spot and considering the track record of LSU producing NFL talent, don’t be surprised if you see Garrett playing on Sundays in a few years. Garrett is LSU’s first of what could be six, five-star recruits to commit to LSU this class.
LSU now has the No. 11 ranked class according to 247Sports.