Dominant defensive end Myles Garrett remains one of the most coveted uncommitted members of the 2014 recruiting class. The James Martin High School (Arlington, Texas) standout revealed he may be moving toward a decision by unveiling his favorite college football suitors to Scout.com writer Erin Hartigan.
Garrett, listed as the nation's No. 2 weak-side defensive end recruit and No. 16 overall prospect in 247Sports composite rankings, is focused on five schools from four different conferences. Texas A&M, Alabama, Florida State, TCU and Ohio State are in the mix, he told Hartigan.
The 6'4", 240-pound 5-star prospect picked that cluster of teams from a vast collection of scholarship offers. Other options included Arkansas, LSU, Michigan, Miami and Texas.
Garrett has absolutely dominated during his senior season. Through six games, he's tallied 43 total tackles, 15 sacks, three forced fumbles and five blocked kicks, according to MaxPreps.
Now that Garrett has offered up his group of top teams, it's appropriate to wonder which program may present a perfect fit.
The Texas A&M Aggies were among the first schools to heavily recruit Garrett. College Station is the second campus where he had the chance to thoroughly check out facilities and chat with coaches, he told Scout.
Former Martin teammate Devonta Burns is a third-year safety on the Aggies, so there's some familiarity there. Garrett visited the campus for a Junior Day last year and spent an official visit at Texas A&M in September, when the team hosted Alabama.
The Aggies' Achilles' heel this season is defense. The squad is surrendering 32 points per contest, which ranks 96th in the nation.
Texas A&M hasn't been able to create consistent pressure on opposing passers, straining the defensive secondary. Garrett would have a great opportunity to turn a weakness into a strength.
His sister, Brea Garrett, is a junior on Texas A&M's track and field program. Talk about a built-in support system.
The Alabama Crimson Tide represent perhaps the most intriguing opportunity for Garrett. Not because of the national championships or NFL alumni, but due to how the team has implemented top-tier high school defensive ends in the past.
Nick Saban and his staff continue to transfer athletically gifted players from the defensive front to the second level. Crimson Tide commit Christian Miller is a 6'4", 230-pound edge-rusher in high school but will move back to outside linebacker at Alabama.
That's not necessarily destined to happen to Garrett, but it's an interesting possibility to consider. He has 4.70 speed in the 40-yard dash, per 247Sports, and moves extremely well.
The Alabama defensive rotation is tough to crack. That's what a half-decade of recruiting dominance does to a roster.
However, it's a challenge a player of Garrett's caliber can handle. He came away extremely pleased after a visit to Tuscaloosa.
"The coaches get to know you and they want to be friends with you," Garrett explained to Scout. "They want to be friends, mentors and coaches. That’s what I want to have.”
The Florida State Seminoles are considered a program on the rise. An excellent start this season has caught Garrett's attention.
"Great defense, great coaches," he told Scout. "They’re coming up. They’re beating good teams.”
The Seminoles have assembled an impressive recruiting class, which currently ranks sixth nationally in 247Sports composite rankings. Florida State's latest haul is highlighted by defensive standouts.
Linebackers Kain Daub, Jacob Pugh and Delvin Purifoy are each 4-star prospects considered among the country's best at their position. Reinforcements are also on the way along the defensive line, as 4-star recruits Dexter Wideman and Demarcus Christmas have committed to the Seminoles.
If Garrett truly believes Florida State is headed for great things in the near future, it's a perfect time to jump on the bandwagon.
The TCU Horned Frogs don't carry the same national clout as other programs on this list, but don't underestimate Garrett's personal ties with the program. TCU was the first campus he toured and the Horned Frogs made him a top target long ago.
The school is located in Fort Worth, so proximity to his hometown Arlington comes into play. Garrett doesn't downplay that advantage in the recruiting process.
"It’s close to home," he told Scout. "Great place, I’ve been there a couple times.”
TCU, which ranked among the nation's dominant defenses in past years, continues to hold its own in the Big 12. The Horned Frogs give up 21 points per game, good enough for 30th in the country.
The team also features two of Garrett's former high school teammates. Sophomore defensive end Devonte Fields and freshman running back Kyle Hicks each attended Martin High School.
Garrett admits he speaks with Fields about forming a dynamic pair of defensive bookends at TCU.
“He said we could just dominate,” Garrett recalled. “Me and him, coming off the edge. No better tandem than us two.”
The Ohio State Buckeyes are bringing together an excellent recruiting class under head coach Urban Meyer. The team's commitment list currently ranks No. 2 nationally in 247Sports composite rankings.
If Garrett pulls the trigger and heads to Columbus, he would team up with fellow monstrous pass-rusher Jalyn Holmes, who is ranked the No. 4 weak-side defensive end prospect in 247Sports composite rankings. Ohio State is the only cold-weather school listed among Garrett's favorites, so it would certainly require a transition for the Texan.
"If I want to get away from home, that’s the best place to go," Garrett told Scout.
It's an observation that may not bode well for Alabama and Florida State.
You also have to throw a wild card into the mix when it comes to Ohio State. Garrett plans to pursue a degree in paleontology, and he has a lot of respect for the school's program.
"They’re the best in my field," he told Scout.
Garrett is considering schools across the county, but this ultimately comes down to a recruiting battle between two Texas teams. TCU and Texas A&M carry the most weight for him from a personal standpoint, and each offers an opportunity to contribute immediately on a BCS conference contender.
As hard as it might be to turn down the chance to be reunited with his friends in Fort Worth, the draw to College Station is too strong. Expect the Aggies to capitalize on strong seasons in the SEC by landing one of the state's finest players.
He'll arrive at College Station with a chance to chase down some of the country's premier passers, while playing with a former teammate and sharing the campus with his older sister.