LSU made lasting impression on Garrett

Linebacker Clifton Garrett took in the LSU campus for the first time over the weekend, as the Tigers played in their annual spring game. Paul Szczesny, of Core 6 Athletes, made the trip to Baton Rouge with Garrett. Szczesny spoke with TSD's Austin Cooper regarding the visit and broke down where things now stand with the talented four-star prospect.

Plainfield South High School (Plainfield, Il.) linebacker Clifton Garrett traveled to the campuses of Alabama and LSU over the weekend with trainer and recruiting coach Paul Szczesny, of Core 6 Athletes. The 6-2 227 pound Garrett got his weekend started when he picked up an offer from Alabama prior to making the trek over to Baton Rouge. According to Szczesny, the visit to LSU made a lasting impression on Garrett for multiple reasons. As soon as Garrett stepped foot on campus, the red carpet was rolled out by the LSU coaching staff, especially Les Miles.

"I know he was looking to get down there for a while now," Szczesny told TSD. "LSU was one of his favorite schools growing up. As soon as he got on campus, he got to meet with coach [Les] Miles. It was a great visit overall and he spent a lot of time with coach Miles."

"They didn't really talk about football much, but more about life. The connection that he had with Miles this weekend did a lot. Clifton didn't get a tour guide when looking at the facilities, coach Miles handled all of that personally."

For Szczesny, the attention that the LSU staff showed Garrett was unlike anything he had every seen on a recruiting visit.

"I've been to a lot of schools around the country and it was the first time that I had seen a head coach spend all of his time with a recruit," said Szczesny. "He introduced Clifton to his family and everything. As soon as we arrived, we met with Coach Miles and his family for three or four hours and just talked."

The LSU coaching staff made it very clear all weekend how much they covet Garrett. Szczesny explained that it made a lasting impression on Garrett when he realized how many coaches were waiting for him when he arrived to the LSU campus.

"All of the coaches were there waiting for him and he definitely got a lot of attention," said Szczesny. "He got to meet with all of the staff and see the weight room and everything. The thing that stood out the most was the fact that every single coach was all over him all weekend. That made a huge impression on him."

"It was a very warm welcome that they gave him and all of the coaches seemed like very genuine guys. It was easy for him to talk to all of them and it wasn't like he was talking to a coach, but rather a friend. Everything just seemed very natural and genuine."

One of the highlights of the visit to LSU for Garrett was when he got an opportunity to sit down with the member of the staff that would serve as his position coach with the Tigers.

"I know coach [John] Chavis and Coach Miles made a huge impression on him," said Szczesny. "Spending time with coach Chavis in the meeting room and talking about football and where he fits meant a lot to him. His expertise with linebackers also stood out to him."

According to Szczesny, the LSU staff is recruiting Garrett primarily as a middle linebacker, with the expectations that he can play any of the three linebacker positions.

Not only did coach Chavis break down where he would fit on the defense, but he also explained to Garrett how he could fit into the LSU program as a whole. The fact that Chavis has coached numerous linebackers that went on to have successful careers in the NFL is another sticking point for Garrett.

"Coach Chavis said a lot of nice things about his personality and how he can come in and be a team captain down the road for them, just like Kevin Minter," said Szczesny. "Coach Chavis explained to him what big linebackers he has coached and he told Clifton that he is way ahead of anyone that he has ever coached at this point in his career."

"His ultimate goal is to play in the NFL, and he knows that coach Chavis is a coach that can definitely get him there. He liked LSU before the visit, but the trip reaffirmed why they are so special to him."

While on the LSU campus, Garrett had a chance to speak with several members of the 2013 signing class for the Tigers, including longtime friend and current Tiger Ethan Pocic. Szczesny explained that Garrett hit if off with the group of players pretty easily and built friendships that he expects to grow in the future.

"He got a chance to spend some time with K.J. Malone and Desean Smith," said Szczesny. "Those guys built some relationships with him. It's huge for him that he built a relationship with those guys and I know there is a good comfort level there. I think it was big for Ethan Pocic to be there."

Even though the football side of things really impressed Garrett throughout his weekend in Baton Rouge, Szczesny explained that other things that are more important to the talented linebacker really stood out at LSU. His visit to Alabama earlier also allowed for Garrett to compare the Crimson Tide to what he saw from the Bayou Bengals.

"It is still very early, but I think that LSU made the biggest impact on him so far out of any of the schools that he has been to, for multiple reasons," said Szczesny. "Everything at LSU was just on another level for him. He just went to Alabama and he was able to compare them to LSU. LSU was able to stand out in a bigger way for him, in terms of things outside of football."

"Being a student at LSU is something that he could see himself as and not just a football player. His parents are excited after the visit. I'm not going to name favorites, but LSU went above and beyond with impressing him with things other than football. It all opened his eyes in a lot of ways."

It won't be long before Garrett returns to Baton Rouge to check out the LSU campus with his family. Szczesny explained that Garrett already has an idea of when he would like to take his official visit to LSU, but there will more than likely be a visit to the campus that takes place before that.

"LSU has been one of those schools where his whole family wants to go down there," said Szczesny. "He saw what he needed to see and now he will try to get his whole family down there. I would guess that they would try to get down there before the fall. He wants to take his official there for the Texas A&M game."

"I think they will also be down there in the summer. His parents just want to see it for themselves."

Garrett has planned to announce his college choice at the Army All-American Game, taking place next January. While that may be the case, Szczesny believes that a decision from Garrett could easily from before that time.

"I know he wants to take his visits, but him deciding at the Army All-American Game could change," said Szczesny. "His parents going to LSU with him for a visit will make a big difference for him. I could see a decision coming earlier than January."

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