Chandler (AZ) Hamilton high school Steve Belles remembers the first time he came into contact with four-star defensive tackle Garrett Rand. In all honesty, the 6-3, 275-pound Rand makes an immediate
“He was a man when he was a freshman when he walked through Hamilton’s door,” said Belles. “He’s the strongest kid when he got to Hamilton. He’ll be the strongest kid leaving Hamilton. I think strength wise it really separated him from everybody else because of his dad and his upbringing. He’s a freak in the weight room and he’s able to transfer it on the football field.”
Rand is the type of prospect who can make an immediate impact at the college level, a big reason why his commitment to the University of Wisconsin Thursday afternoon was massively important. Not only did the Badgers vault into the top 25 of the Scout.com recruiting rankings (sitting at No.23), they beat out West Coast programs Arizona State, Stanford, UCLA and Washington, not to mention a host of other schools, for his verbal commitment.
Rand took an unofficial visit to Wisconsin in July, took his official visit to the campus last weekend and didn’t feel he needed to go anywhere else.
“I just think the comfort level with the coaches,” said Belles. “He felt that he was wanted there. He brought something to the table that he wanted. He felt that family atmosphere. I know he has some family from back there (Stevens Point) and he felt real comfortable.”
Belles – a former Notre Dame quarterback - was also a fan of Wisconsin because of athletic director Barry Alvarez, who was the defensive coordinator with the Irish during Belles’ tenure.
“I think he really liked Barry quite a bit,” Belles said. “It’s kind of weird having an AD influence on the football program, but he definitely does that there. Being a quarterback at Notre Dame, I should have gone over and tried the defensive side because I would have loved to play for him.”
Described by Scout.com’s Jason Jewell as a “beast” who is impossible to neutralize in a one-on-one setting, Rand is the third defensive line commit in UW’s 2016 class – joining Amherst (WI) defensive tackle Tyler Biadasz and Grafton (WI) defensive end Luke Benzschawel.
“It’s a place that grew on him, and I think the trip solidified it this weekend,” said Belles. “He knew what he wanted, was ready to do it, get it done with and move on to the next phase, which is finishing out his senior season.”