Now, he's making an effort to fit all of theirs.
The 2015 cornerback from Oak Park (Ill.) Fenwick visited NU this weekend in a successful trip. Garland grew impressed by the setting, and even better, had a chance to learn more about Pat Fitzgerald.
"He talked about being a man and taking responsibility," Garland told PW on Sunday. "In the class and outside."
The academics part applies to Garland, who wants to improve his 24 ACT score and overall academics. That would make him a better candidate for NU.
"They want to see me step it up," he said. "I'm looking to go up on [the ACT]. I'm getting my academics together and will continue to make visits."
Though a late rising prospect, Garland has fielded interest from schools including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Iowa State. He holds offers from Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Toledo and Buffalo.
Still, NU seems interested in his game. If the academics align, Garland is a prime candidate to receive an offer. The Wildcats like building depth in the secondary, with Garland a potential local candidate.
"They believe in my game," he said.
While Garland fights for his offer, though, NU can make a desirable pitch. Part of that involved Chicago, which recruits are citing as a major factor in their interest.
"The drive up to Northwestern, downtown, was not so bad," he said. "That was awesome how it only took us 30 minutes to get there. It's pretty close to home, and then I was pretty surprised by Evanston and impressed by the setting."
That preceded his excellent visit, which also included a tour of the field, the weight room and Saturday's private spring practice. It only cemented his very strong interest.
"The practice part was pretty cool," he said. "I got to see the defensive backs and the wide receivers do one-on-ones. I talked to a few players, and from what I experienced Saturday, they were pretty cool guys.
"Northwestern seems to fit in with everything I'm looking for."