Every once in a while, something just makes sense to you, even if it doesn't make sense to anyone else.
That may sound simple, but that's basically what happened last week when Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) defensive tackle Haskell Garrett, a four-star prospect, committed to Ohio State without ever visiting the school. Heck, he'd only had a scholarship offer from the Buckeyes for a week before deciding that it was the right choice for him. What makes the decision even more startling?
Garrett hasn't visited any college yet.
"I’ve not visited any schools," Garrett told 11W. "When I came to Bishop Gorman (as a sophomore), I had a three-year plan. The first year was focused on grades and how they do things at Gorman, to get used to the school and the city. Last season I wanted to focus on football and then my senior year I’d get focused on recruiting."
Consider the focus officially turned to recruiting.
The country's 4th-ranked 2017 defensive tackle has offers from Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, Texas A&M and others, but it was the opportunity to play at Ohio State that turned his recruitment from a saunter to a sprint. What made that chance so hard to pass up? Being able to suit up in college close to his family in the Eastern United States played a pivotal role in his decision. Of course, so did the chance to play for Urban Meyer.
"After I got off the phone with (Urban) Meyer, that's when I knew I wanted to commit to Ohio State," Garrett said when asked why he went from an offer one week to a commitment–sans visit–the next. "Just knowing his resume, his history of winning games, and how he's getting dudes ready for life, whether as a man, for the NFL or to whatever the next step in life is, that was it. He really prepares them in a good way and I wanted to try and stay closer to my family in the East, and to play for a big time football team. That’s what makes Ohio State the best place for me."
Garrett said that Meyer has plans for him along the defensive line and that he was clear why the Buckeyes wanted him in their program.
"They offered because they like my high-motor and that I move well with the weight I carry, but (Meyer) asked me if I could be a 300-pound lineman. I can get there and still be quick at that weight," the 6-foot-2, 280-pounder said. "I know that they think I use my hands well and I bring energy to the team. They also like what my coaches had to say about me and my role in the locker room and that I bring good grades to the table, too."
Originally from Vermont, Garrett has described Ohio State as his "dream school" and when the Buckeyes offered, he decided there was no reason to wait. One question though: why is a kid who lived in Vermont for the first 14 years of his life, calling Ohio State his dream school?
"When I was in Vermont," Garrett told 11W. "One of my friends, Peter, was an Ohio State fanatic. He had blankets, posters on his walls and all that. I’d be there watching Buckeye games and I just started liking them when I was little. It became my ultimate goal to play for them, but I didn't have any one player or anything that I liked. I just liked the football program as a whole."
The commitment to Ohio State is the next step in an already long journey for a 17-year-old kid. Football isn't just something that Garrett does, it's become an integral part in the development of who he is as a person and it's become an escape from some of the challenges life has thrown his way.
"My father died when I was 13, that's why we moved from Vermont. We went from there to Hawai'i because we had a lot of family there, but it got kind of expensive and so we started to look for a good place to get an education but also good exposure for football," he said. "We talked about and decided on Las Vegas and Bishop Gorman. There are moments when I can’t believe this has all happened. I try to be humble and I am so thankful for the people who have supported me through this journey. I’m prepared, my mentality is always to work hard. It's helped me learn the value of going the extra mile when I’m tired or when things don’t go to plan or when things aren’t well at home. I have that second family of brothers to lean on. It makes you stronger. Football has taught me how to face adversity, to be a better person and how to mold myself into a better man. ”
One of those brothers is Tyjon Lindsey, a five-star wide receiver who–two weeks ago–transferred out of Bishop Gorman to head back to California to be close to his family. The two could end up as teammates again if Garrett's commitment sticks and Lindsey, who has the Buckeyes at the top of his list, decides on Ohio State.
“I hung out with Tyjon a lot, and he’s a really good dude, we grew a bond and talked daily," Garrett said of his friendship with Lindsey. "In a sense, there's a lot about our journeys that are the same. We've helped each other cope with things and ask each other advice with stuff we go through and handle stuff together. I don't know what he's thinking about college and I can't speak for him, but he’s really excited about Ohio State."
There's a long way to go in the recruitment of Haskell Garrett but he's well-prepared for the challenges of it. He's expected to visit not only Ohio State this spring, but will also likely take trips to Notre Dame, Penn State and others. He says that those trips are going to make sure he's informed about his final destination, dream school or not.
“Around my spring break, that's when I plan to start making trips," Garrett said of his plans. "When I go out to the schools I want to be there a couple days. I want to get to really see the colleges, to see the entire environment of the cities I’ll be in for four years. I don’t want to be one of those kids who doesn’t have a feel for the entire city and just spends a day there. I need to know the entire atmosphere."