Breaking Down 5-Star LB Clifton Garrett's SEC Heavy Top 5 Schools

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Breaking Down 5-Star LB Clifton Garrett's SEC Heavy Top 5 Schools
Via 247Sports

Elite outside linebacker recruit Clifton Garrett has named his top five, and it's hard not to notice that the list features a SEC bias.

Garrett recently visited Florida before playing in the IMG 7 vs. 7 National Championships, according to Derek Tyson of ESPN.com. Tyson also reports that Garrett has narrowed his list to five:

After his visit, Garrett now has five schools, LSU, Florida, USC, Ole Miss and Tennessee, that are standing out to him. So what will it take for one school to take the lead over the rest? 

"For me, every school has the nice facilities and everything, so I want to go down with a great recruiting class," Garrett said. "I want to come down with a legendary class."

“I want to be around great people, great coaching staff, great players that are already there, and I want to be around a great environment. I don’t want any negative activity or anything like that; I want to go down to a positive program that’s doing everything right.” 

LSU and Florida are the two marquee SEC teams on his list, and both programs appear to have a good shot to land Garrett at this juncture.

If he wants to be part of a legendary class, LSU could be the best option. The Tigers already have 11 commitments and they are in the running for 5-star running back Leonard Fournette, 5-star tackle Cameron Robinson and 5-star cornerback Tony Brown, amongst others, according to each recruit's respective 247Sports interest list.

A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

All 25 experts in the 247Sports Crystal Ball predicted that Garrett will commit to LSU, so take that for what it's worth.

LSU has a great pitch, but Garrett did have this to say about his visit to Florida, per Tyson:

I loved it; I had a good time down there. Coach Muschamp is a really good dude. We have a real good relationship over the phone. We talk all the time, basically weekly -- me, him and Coach Durkin. I finally had a chance to meet them in person so that was really cool. I loved it down there. They have really nasty defenses. They play just the way I like to play, real physical, fast -- they win championships.

For as good as Florida and LSU look in this race, keep an eye out for Tennessee and Ole Miss. Momentum and hype are everything in recruiting, and right now, both programs are on a whole new level.

Aside from Alabama, Michigan and Texas A&M, it's safe to say that Tennessee is the hottest program in recruiting right now. Butch Jones has done a phenomenal job of making the rebuild at Tennessee exciting, and Garrett would have the chance to be "the guy" for Tennessee' s 2014 class, along with 5-star running back Jalen Hurd.

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze

If you followed recruiting at all last cycle, than you'd know that Ole Miss came away with one of the better, and more surprising, classes in the nation. The Rebels' 2013 class features a handful of 5-stars, including 247Sports Composite No. 1 overall recruit Robert Nkemdiche

If Ole Miss translates recruiting hype into on-field wins, the Rebels could really make some noise. They should be taken seriously in this race as well.

Finally, there's USC. The Trojans may not be the powerhouse they were in the past, but USC still boasts the Southern California Charm, great campus and facilities and a chance to compete in the Pac-12. USC's draw with elite recruits is still undeniable. 

Garrett is the No. 2 outside linebacker in the 2014 class and he's the No. 1 player from Illinois, according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings. 

According to Tyson's report, Garrett said he will "probably" make his decision at the Army All-American bowl in January. 

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