LSU has its first five-star commitment.
Illinois linebacker Clifton Garrett gave a verbal pledge to the Tigers on Tuesday in front of a filled auditorium at Illinois-Plainfield South High School, becoming the 16th LSU commit of 2014 and the most heralded of them all.
Garrett is ranked as a top 3 player at his position nationally and the No. 1 player in the state of Illinois, according to all three major recruiting sites. He’s rated five stars (out of five) by 24/7 Sports and Scout.com and four stars by Rivals.com.
No other LSU commit is rated five stars. His commitment is non-binding. Players sign binding National Letters of Intent on Feb. 5.
At his announcement, Garrett, standing in front of a podium, grabbed an LSU hat from behind the lectern, slipped it on and then unzipped a jacket to reveal a purple LSU shirt.
“Louisiana State, baby,” he immediately said after the announcement and before an interview that was broadcast live online.
“When I went down for the spring game I loved it,” he said of LSU. “Every moment of it. It was the spring game and there were people everywhere. I loved the whole atmosphere. I want to play in the SEC with the big boys.”
Garrett was expected to pick LSU. He chose the Tigers over Ole Miss and Tennessee and had other offers from a list that includes Florida, Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame, USC and Florida State.
Garrett, 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, first visited LSU last spring and returned for the Tigers’ win over Texas A&M. He was recruited by offensive line coach Greg Studrawa and defensive coordinator John Chavis.
Garrett is the first of a host of five-star LSU targets expected to announce their college choices over the next month.
Five are scheduled to announce Jan. 2 at the Under Armour All-American Game in Tampa, Fla., a day after No. 14 LSU (9-3, 5-3 SEC) meets Iowa (8-4, 5-3 Big Ten) in the Outback Bowl.
Cornerback Tony Brown and safety Jamal Adams, both of Texas, and highly rated in-state stars running back Leonard Fournette, defensive end Gerald Willis and receiver Devante Noil are all set to announce during the Under Armour game.