Editor's note: This
is the third in a series of 20 leading up to National Signing Day that
features Top 100 football recruits who have yet to announce their
college plans. We're breaking down their finalists and predicting where
each will wind up.
Uncommitted: Josh GarnettHigh school: Puyallup (Wash.)Position:
6-foot-5, 300 poundsTom Lemming's Top 100: No. 26 overall (No. 2 G/C)Finalists (alphabetical):
Michigan, Notre Dame, StanfordMore Uncommitted Players: Aziz Shittu
Perhaps it's fitting that Puyallup (Wash.)
standout Josh Garnett
has a twin sibling – in this instance sister Rachel – because by all accounts, he has two different personalities.
Off the field, those who know Garnett best characterize him as the epitome of a gentle giant. Thoughtful, caring and humble are just a few of the words most used to describe his demeanor.
Once he straps on the pads, though, the sizable Garnett transforms into punishing player who dominates opponents without regard. It's that competitive edge that has made Garnett the No. 26 recruit nationally and the second-best among interior linemen.
Asked earlier this season by MaxPreps what appealed most to him about playing football, Garnett answered, "For an hour-and-a-half, within parameters and with pads and equipment, you legally get the chance to beat the crap out of another kid. And after 45 seconds or so, you get to do it all over again."
Certainly his physical nature is one of his best attributes, but Garnett also has displayed solid technique and good quickness off the ball. While he played tackle in high school, Garnett expects to move inside to guard in college because of his physical strength and ability to pull and block using his 4.68 speed in the 40-yard dash.
Said MaxPreps recruiting expert Tom Lemming, "(Garnett) loves to mix it up, shows good work habits and plays the game on his feet."
Garnett has narrowed his college choices to Michigan, Notre Dame and Stanford after also considering Auburn, Nebraska, Miami, Oregon, UCLA, USC, California and local favorite Washington. Whichever school finally secures his commitment will be getting a player with good genes and perspective. His father, Scott, played defensive line in the NFL.
The school Garnett picks also will get a player who is intent on forging his own path, one who is as serious about his studies as he is about football. His father attended Washington, and many thought because of that the Huskies were all but assured of his services.
Garnett, who boasts a 3.8 grade-point average, has said he wants to attend an out-of-state school to forge new experiences. He plans to study medicine, with an eye on becoming an orthopedic surgeon.
No matter what happens next, it's apparent that Garnett's dual personality helped him leave his mark at Puyallup. He has developed into a well-rounded student, athlete and citizen.
"I think, as dads, we all want our sons to be great athletes, but when I talk to my son, I tell him it's important that you become the kind of person Josh Garnett is," Puyallup principal Jason Smith told The (Puyallup) Herald. "I tell him that's what you want to aspire to be."
As National Signing Day approaches, here are our thoughts on Garnett's final choices:Washington (long shot):
Although Garnett crossed the Huskies off his list in late December, expect Washington to make a final push now that top recruiter Tosh Lupoi joined the program
from Pac-12 rival California on Jan. 16. That move has other top recruits considering the Huskies. Michigan (long shot):
The Wolverines have a Top 5 recruiting class, and while Michigan is stout academically, it is not Notre Dame or Stanford in that regard.Notre Dame (fair shot):
The Irish have all the right components in place, including a fit with his Catholic roots, and they picked up momentum earlier this week when top quarterback Gunner Kiel enrolled.Stanford (bank on it):
Garnett gushed about his visit on Jan. 13 and the camaraderie he had with his fellow recruits. The Cardinal also had the opportunity to make the last, best impression.
While some recruits pay lip service to academics, that aspect seems as important, if not more so, than football to Garnett. Stanford offers a unique experience for the top-shelf student-athlete. Garnett also acknowledged it has one other big factor in its favor: location. It's the closest of his preferred out-of-state schools.