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October 18, 2013

Garrett as good as it gets in '14 class

Arlington Martin defensive end Myles Garrett is arguably the best prospect at his position that has come out of state of Texas in years. The most recent five stars that have come out include Jackson Jeffcoat (signed with Texas) and R.J. Washington (signed with Oklahoma) but in my opinion Garrett has a couple of attributes that set him apart from those guys.

First off, Garrett has a great first step and lateral mobility that enables him to be an elite pass rusher. You've seen footage of him playing defensive end and he has such quickness off the ball that he can set up an offensive tackle to concern himself almost solely with his outside rush, take a step inside, use his inside arm to push the blocker outside, and then have an unobstructed path to the quarterback. There aren't many guys that have that type of first step; there are even fewer that can change direction and get upfield like he can. Jeffcoat was technically better but probably wasn't the overall athlete that Garrett was later in his career.

In addition, his quickness and lateral movement isn't just a game changer in pass rush mode. Lately, one of the things that I've discussed in watching Southeastern Conference offenses when doing pre game analysis is that these offense like to reach and down block defensive linemen away from the playside. This places a premium on being able to cut off backside penetration, especially if you are pulling a guard because a lineman on that side can follow the guard if the center or tackle can't get to them and make a play for a loss. Garrett is the type of player that if you try to reach him he is going to beat the block. Run defense starts with making plays in the opponent's backfield and he is very good at that.

Second, Garrett already has good height at 6 foot 4 and is 250 pounds. He's not as lean as some defensive ends and he has enough of a frame to add weight so that he could play any one of three positions on the defensive line: rush end, strongside end, and three technique tackle. He's big enough right now to be in A&M's end rotation next season as a freshman.

There's no question that, in his 8.5-sack game last week, Weatheford's offensive line was overmatched -- but the speed at which Garrett can get across the line of scrimmage and totally interrupt plays before they get started is astounding. Washington simply wasn't big enough to be able to do that.

Garrett has something else that is a rare attribute and that's great hand eye coordination. In his Rivals.com highlights, you'll see him drop back into coverage and snag a pass over his head. However, where it really pays off is his battles with opposing linemen. He gets his hands up so quickly that he wins first contact almost every time out when means that an offensive lineman that isn't as quick as him isn't just losing the battle of their feet. He's always pushing them off balance or keeping their hands off of himself so that he gets free quickly.

Overall, Garrett is the type of defensive end that A&M hasn't recruited in a long time. He's bigger than Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller and he's faster and has a better a first step than New York Giants defensive end Damontre Moore, both of whom played recently at A&M. Garrett is the type of player that will force opponents to game plan for him which will make everyone around him better. In fact, you could argue that he is the top prospect in the state of Texas this year because if you had a draft it's hard to imagine that (using NFL criteria) he wouldn't be the first player chosen. NFL teams prize edge rushers over all positions except quarterback due to the impact that they have on a game. Garrett has those types of elite skills and now A&M has someone with those skills as well.


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