Linebacker Clifton Garrett is projecting to be a big time 2014 prospect in the world of college football recruiting—currently a 5-star recruit according to the 247Sports composite ratings—and it appears as if Ole Miss has decided to take the lead and become the first team from the SEC to make an offer to the junior.
David Johnson of 247Sports reports on the offer:
Ole Miss dropped an offer on one of the nation’s top linebacker prospects in the 2014 class Tuesday.
The Rebels offered Plainfield (Ill.) South High School inside linebacker Clifton Garrett. The 6-2, 215-pounder is rated as the nation’s No. 2 inside linebacker prospect in the Class of 2014 and the No. 1 rising junior in the state of Illinois.
This is a strong push by The Rebels but unfortunately for them, their offer isn't really the big story coming out of this situation. The more interesting story comes from the quote Garrett gave to Rebels247 regarding the SEC, according to Johnson's report:
“I love the SEC. It’s one of the top smash-mouth conferences in the nation,” Garrett told Rebels247 on Monday.
Ole Miss struck first and took a chance at Garrett, but one would be foolish to think the big schools like Alabama, LSU, Florida and Georgia won't be right behind the Rebels.
Garrett already has offers from Big Ten powers such as Michigan State and Ohio State, as well as an offer from Notre Dame, but once the SEC comes knocking, the Big Ten may quickly fade out in the rear view mirror for the talented linebacker.
He's expressed his interest in the smash-mouth football of the SEC, and he'd be a perfect fit. At 6'2'', 215 pounds, he's already a big, bruising linebacker with great downhill speed. He plugs the gap like an experienced veteran and he's strong at the point of contact.
Garrett is everything you look for in a great SEC linebacker, and now that Ole Miss has opened the floodgates, I wouldn't be surprised to see the big programs coming in right behind them.
Frankly, Garrett fits just about any SEC program's linebacker mold, so don't be surprised when schools like Alabama, LSU and the other big fish follow Ole Miss' lead and make an offer.