PLAINFIELD, Ill. – The U.S. Army All-American Bowl Selection Tour kicked off on Tuesday with various stops around the country including Plainfield (Ill.) South High School, home of five-star linebacker Clifton Garrett.
Clifton Garret is the nations' top outside linebacker according to the 247Composite.
Surrounded by distinguished military members, family, school faculty and friends, the 6-foot-2, 228-pound Garrett accepted his jersey to play in the 14th annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl, set for Jan. 4 in San Antonio, Texas, to be aired nationally on NBC.
“I want to thank my family, my school and all my friends,” Garrett said. “I want to thank the U.S. Army All-American bowl for supporting high school football and allowing me and all the other All-Americans with the opportunity to play in the U.S. Army All-American bowl.
“I want to thank my parents who each and every day helped me throughout this process. I want to thank all my friends for having my back through the process, being there and giving me support. I want to thank my teammates, all my teachers and everyone that has been with me through the process. I’ve had a lot of great support .
“For me to be an Army All-American is a huge honor. The Army, you guys are out there fighting every day for our lives and freedom. I really want to thank you all for that. It means so much.”
Garrett is ranked by the 247Composite as the nation’s top outside linebacker and by 247Sports as the country’s No. 29 recruit overall. The No. 1 player in the state of Illinois, Garrett will be joined at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl by two other Chicago-area standouts in four-star linebacker Nyles Morgan and four-star center Brian Allen. All three players work out and train with Core 6 Athletes and look forward to sharing the experience together.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Garrett said.
Garrett has narrowed his long list of scholarship offers to Florida, LSU, Ole Miss, Oregon and Tennessee. Les Miles and the Tigers are the team to beat but Garrett will continue to work slowly through the process, possibly announcing his college decision during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
“I have to take all my officials,” Garrett said. “Every school has a shot at this point. LSU is not the clear shot leader but I like them a lot.
Clifton Garrett poses with his parents.
Garrett took his first official visit to Florida this past weekend for the Tennessee game. The Gators plan to attend Garrett’s game over their next bye week in October. Garrett’s next scheduled official is to see the Vols campus for the first time Oct. 4. He’ll be back at Ole Miss the weekend of Oct. 18 for an official. The Rebels have already sent a coach by the school to see Garrett. Over Thanksgiving weekend, Garrett will take an unofficial visit to LSU for the Texas A&M game and return shortly after for his official in early December. He added that he talks weekly with Miles and assistant John Chavis. Nothing has been scheduled as of yet for Oregon.
Garrett talked about each of his five finalists.
Florida: “Florida impressed me a huge amount. I got to see everything I wanted to see when I went down there. I got a chance to hang out with the players and coaches and it was a great time.”
LSU: “They’re just having a dominant season. LSU has been out there playing LSU football. Having a dominant season, both on defense and offense, out there playing real hard. I talk with them all the time.
Ole Miss: “Ole Miss is on a roll. They’re winning all their games so far. They’re having a good time out there. They’re out there playing. They had a good recruiting last season and they’re working on a good one this season.”
Oregon: “I’m looking at taking an official there. I know one of their coaches came by my school last week but I wasn’t there. I’m looking to setup a fifth official to go out there.”
Tennessee: “I just want to see everything they have to offer. They’ve been playing tough football. They’re in the rebuilding process obviously, but they’re a tough team and good SEC program.”
Garrett has helped lead Plainfield South to a 3-1 record this fall as the Cougars look to bounce back from a 4-5 season the year before. Besides his duties flying around the field as a linebacker, Garrett has contributed in the backfield on offense.
Garrett presented with his U.S. Army All-American jersey by Army representatives.
“If there is anything I can say about him other than his achievements that speak for themselves, he has represented us as truly a first-class man,” head coach Ken Bublitz said, later adding he’s season continued improvement from his best player.
“I think it started at the beginning of summer where he became more of a vocal leader as well as leader by example. The way he approaches practice and attention to detail. (In games) he’s able to finish plays even better than he did before. I think he understands more what his position involves and what he has to do to make himself better and more importantly what he has to do to get our defense to play at a top level.”