After a difficult freshman year in terms of academics, Garland said he's been "doing better each semester." If he lands A's and B's at Fenwick High School this spring, he will likely meet the standard.
"I wouldn't say it's pressure," Garland told PurpleWildcats.com on Friday. "It's given me some extra drive."
Garland and his mother recently sat down with Pat Fitzgerald for half an hour, and the head coach was clear with his expectations. If Garland gets his grades up, there will be an immediate offer.
The 2015 cornerback prospect made a return trip to Evanston on Thursday, which only strengthened his interest in the program. He arrived at 7 a.m. and attended a 45-minute position group meeting led by Jerry Brown.
"I like his approach to the game," Garland said of Brown. "He understands that players make mistakes. He's more of a teacher… He's going to slow it down for you and make sure you get it."
Garland went to the outdoor practice field, and then returned inside to watch defensive back drills. He also spoke with Chris Bowers, the director of player personnel, and appreciated his support. The entire coaching staff has checked in—and cared about—his academic and personal standing.
At this point, it's important for NU to create the best possible pitch for Garland. He fits the "local sleeper" profile that the Wildcats covet.
His listed offers are from Buffalo, Nevada, Northern Illinois, Toledo and Western Michigan. He also reported interest from Iowa and Michigan State.
If Garland takes care of business, there will be at least one more. With grades and an offer, NU would be among his top choices.
"Northwestern would definitely stand out to me," he said. "It would definitely be in my top three, if not my number one… I'd love to be a Wildcat."
Instead of X's and O's, the focus is on A's and B's. With those, Garland could be a quick joiner to the Northwestern program.