LSU sophomore linebacker Clifton Garrett, a former five-star recruit out of Illinois, has left the football program, team spokesman Michael Bonnette confirmed Friday.
He will transfer to a junior college, according to a 247 Sports report.
Garrett’s departure leaves LSU with just eight scholarship linebackers heading into the 2015 season — two of which are converted from another position. Garrett had spent spring practice as the backup to middle linebacker Kendell Beckwith, Beckwith said in the spring.
Garrett, rated out of high school as a top-30 prospect nationally, did not return a message for comment.
LSU was low on linebackers even before Garrett’s departure. In fact, the team moved former defensive back Devin Voorhies and defensive end M.J. Paterson to the position to add depth. Ronnie Feist is presumed to be Beckwith’s immediate backup. He has played in nine games since arriving in 2012.
Garrett’s one-year stay in Baton Rouge was bizarre for a player who many thought would see the field immediately. He played in just three games last season — none against Southeastern Conference teams.
The 6-foot-2, 245-pounder recorded just one tackle in the Tigers spring game, playing limited snaps.
Heat-related illness slowed him during preseason camp as he adapted to the Louisiana heat. He had surgery in January 2014 on a torn labrum in his left shoulder, an injury many knew nothing about. It slowed him down, too.
“It set me back a lot,” he said of that shoulder surgery during the spring. “I missed a lot of time this summer just trying to get that right, making sure we protected it and everything.”
Garrett was one of just nine scholarship linebackers on the team: Patterson, Feist, Voorhies, Beckwith, Deion Jones, Donnie Alexander, Duke Riley and Lamar Louis.
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter: @DellengerAdv.