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Garrett goes in-depth on recruiting

Editor's note: These quotes were gathered during an ESPN radio interview with Shea Dixon, Jordy Culotta and five-star Clifton Garrett.

Clifton Garrett was recently presented his Army-All American jersey

The recruiting process often becomes overwhelming for student-athletes.

But for five-star linebacker Clifton Garrett, who is one of the most coveted recruits in the 2014 class, there is a method to the madness.

"I kind of have a certain amount of coaches I talk to throughout each day and each week," Garrett said. "I have it scheduled out. Balancing all the homework and football practices is not hard at all."

One of the schools he's on the phone with the most: LSU.

"I talked to the coaches at LSU basically weekly," Garrett said. "I just talked to Coach Miles (Wednesday), and I talked to Chief (John Chavis) last week and will probably give him a call (Friday) before my game. Basically, when I talk to those coaches, we always talk about how excited I am to get back down there and get on campus.

"I can't wait to get down there for the Texas A&M game. It's a huge visit for me, and I can't wait for that."

Garrett's return trip to Baton Rouge will be his final official visit, wrapping up a stretch that included trips to Florida, Tennessee and Ole Miss.

"The Florida visit was last weekend, and it was a good visit for me," he said. "I had a real good time doing that. I got a chance to hang out with all the coaches all weekend. I was down there with two big-time recruits in Jamal Adams and Lorenzo Carter, so it was a good time getting a chance to hang out with some of those guys. I had a good time down there. It was a real nice area and real nice campus. The game was a great game and incredible atmosphere. That was a good time.

Garrett is interviewed by 247 national analyst Steve Wiltfong

"I can't wait for this weekend and going to Tennessee. It's going to be a huge visit for me and my family. We are just looking forward to seeing everything Tennessee has to offer."

The Tigers have been Garrett's lead team since the spring, when he made his first trip to Baton Rouge for the LSU Spring Game. With his process moving down the backstretch, are the Bayou Bengals still out front?

"I like LSU a lot, but I am giving every school that I take an official to a chance," Garrett said. "I am going to take all these official visits, and when I get done with all five, I am going to sit back and think of the pros and cons of each school and see where I fit in the best.

"I like LSU a lot, but these other schools aren't too far behind."

While Garrett made his previous Baton Rouge trek with his Core 6 coach, the upcoming visit in November will include his parents, who will get to meet a coaching staff that they have become familiar with through phone calls over the past six months.

"My parents have yet to meet any of the coaches in person from LSU, but they have talked to them on the phone," Garrett said. "Coach Miles actually took time out of his day at the NFL Draft and he got a chance to talk to my mom. He was at the draft spending time with his family, and he spent about 20-30 minutes just talking to my mom. That was huge for me and my family. That's a significant advantage for you to take that much time to talk to a recruit's family. That speaks volumes about a coach.

"I like talking to Coach Chavis. Every time I talk to him, I get pumped up; talking about the different schemes and how I would fit in. I am definitely looking forward to getting down there and sitting with (Chavis) on my official visit just to talk more football."

While Garrett is tabbed by recruiting services as the No. 1 outside linebacker in the 2014 class, his conversations with LSU's defensive coordinator have the Illinois native confident about assuming another position within the unit.

"Coach Chavis definitely tells me he wants me right there in the middle calling the plays and leading the defense. (Chavis) has told me that time and time again, and Coach Miles has told me that time and time again. Middle linebacker is definitely the place they want me.

"Every game that I watch, I look at how the linebackers are playing downhill and looking at the defense as a whole and just seeing how guys play. They are fast and physical, and that's what I like looking at. I see that on TV and it gets me pumped up."

With LSU's reputation for playing young names on the defensive side, Garrett said he hopes to make a splash right away if he were to choose the Tigers come January.

"I just want to get down on campus and start getting on the lifting program and start learning all the schemes," Garrett said. "Wherever I go, I will have to compete for a spot. If I beat out the guy next to me, I will be happy with that as a freshman playing in the SEC.

"When I get on the field, I know I will be making plays with the guys next to me. When I prove myself to the coaches and they trust me enough to put me on the field, then I will definitely face the fact and step up."

If LSU's 2014 class goes as planned, the Tigers would land not only Garrett, but a number of other five-star prospects - including wide receivers Malachi Dupre and Speedy Noil and running back Leonard Fournette. And thanks to a summer stretch that saw the group head to The Opening in Oregon, Garrett is already getting close to names that could end up being teammates in less than six months time.

"Me and Malachi Dupre are pretty cool, and when we talk, we just vibe off each other," Garrett said. "He's a real cool guy. I can see him being a huge factor on offense at wide receiver for LSU.

"When I talk to Speedy Noil and Leonard Fournette, we all just hang out and laugh all the time. I definitely see the plays those guys make on the field, and I know if we all went to the same school, there would be some game-changing things happening."

While Dupre, Fournette and Noil all grew up an hour from campus, a commitment to LSU would mean Garrett would be trekking much further from home - though with a final group that includes all SEC teams, distance likely won't be a factor come decision day.

"It's not too much of a deal for me," Garrett said. "My top five schools are in the SEC. Whatever school I go to, I am going to be a minimum of 10 hours away from home. That's not going to be a huge factor for me. Everybody's going to be homesick, so I'm sure that will happen to me. But once I settle in and get around the guys, I just have to face the fact that it will be home for the next three to four years. Once I get ahold of that, it should be fine. It won't be too much of a factor for me."

Garrett said he still plans to announce his decision at the Army All-American Game in January.

"It's definitely a huge honor, and receiving that honor is something I am definitely proud of," he said. "I can't wait to step onto the big stage and play against some of the top guys in the country."

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