He hails from Plainfield, Ill., and he's ranked as the No. 1 player from the state.
Garrett projects to be a star, so it's not surprising that so many big-time schools have offered him a scholarship. He has notable offers from Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oregon and Texas A&M among others. But it's Florida, LSU, Ohio State, Ole Miss and USC that currently find themselves on top of Garrett's 247Sports interest list.
He's going to be a marquee pickup for some lucky program, and he's definitely a recruit worth scouting if you're a college football fan.
With that in mind, here's my complete scouting report for Garrett:
- Name: Clifton Garrett
- Hometown: Plainfield, Ill.
- School: Plainfield South High School
- Position: OLB
- Height: 6'2" (247Sports)
- Weight: 228 pounds (247Sports)
- Rankings: 5-star (247Sports Composite), 4-star (Rivals), 4-star (Scout.com), Watch List (ESPN Recruiting Nation)
Garrett is an extremely aggressive, downhill linebacker who has the ability to play physical and dominate at the point of attack. He has a very quick first step and diagnoses the play quickly, especially when it comes to his run reads.
He's very physical and will deliver a strong hit on the ball-carrier. That said, he's also a very fundamental tackler who squares up and drives his feet to take the runner down.
He possesses great speed and explosion, so he can get to the point of attack quickly. That also allows him to scrape over, run the lane and make a play on the edges. He's able to pursue and make tackles in space, and he should be comfortable in pass coverage at the collegiate level.
Garrett's strength and willingness to be physical will make him a great linebacker against the run. He can take on lead blockers, push back the block, extend the run, keep his shoulder free and make a play. He should also be able to "two gap" and blow up a head-on block before making the tackle.
Take a look at his ability to take on a block but still make the play in the pictures below.
First, notice at the snap of the ball how his read step is spot on. He steps forward with his left foot, which allows him to get downhill quick and take a good angle:
In the next picture you can see him sizing up the block at the point of attack, and he's already there right as the running back gets the ball:
Using his strength and aggressiveness, he knocks the blocker off his feet, thus controlling the gap. You can see that in the next two pictures:
Once he controls the gap, you can see that Garrett gets ready to make the tackle, no matter which way the running back decides to go. He has a good base with bent knees, and he's ready to explode into the tackle:
Garrett finishes the play by wrapping up the running back and dragging him down:
In one play, you can see Garrett's instincts, fundamentals, quickness and strength.
He's going to be a very good linebacker at the college level.
I do worry that Garrett is a bit too aggressive. He really bites hard on the run, which is great against run plays, but he could be susceptible to running himself out of position against play-action and misdirection plays.
He should gain more discipline with experience and coaching, though, so I doubt this a long-term problem.
Garrett has the potential to be an elite outside linebacker, especially if he ends up in a system that allows him to be ultra-agressive and make plays.
Personally, I like what he could do in Florida's defense, but Ohio State should also be looked at as a player in this race.
Wherever he does end up, though, Garrett has the intangibles and skill set to be great, so his recruiting process will be one of the more interesting ones to watch in this 2014 cycle.