South (Ill.) Plainfield linebacker Clifton Garrett is personal priority for Florida coach Will Muschamp.
He speaks with the top-100 recruit on the phone every week, and they’re latest conversation took place Monday night.
“It went really good,” Garrett said. “We’re always talking and we’ve built a great relationship. He wants to start communicating with my parents a lot more and he wants to get us all down on campus. He told me once we get there, we’ll fall in love. So I can’t wait to see it for myself.”
That time is coming. Garrett’s plans to officially visit UF the weekend of Sept. 21 for the Tennessee game. The 6-foot-3, 223-pounder will also be in Bradenton from June 28-30 for the IMG Academy 7-on-7 national championship and might try to catch an early flight down to Florida so he can take a short trip to Gainesville before the tournament.
“Whenever I come, it’ll be my first trip there,” Garrett said. “I know the coaching staff really well, but I want to see how they interact with their players and just hang out with the team. I also want to see the facilities, what they have to offer academically and gameday in The Swamp. It’s known for having a crazy atmosphere, so I want to see it firsthand.”
On his official visit, Garrett will likely be hosted by fellow Illinois product Antonio Morrison. The two aren’t close friends, but they’ve met.
“I’m played against him,” Garrett revealed. “We actually hit each other a few times in a game. On one kickoff, and I still remember this, we went head-to-head and we just smacked against each other like we had both hit a wall. He’s definitely an aggressive player. Just a nasty, mean dude on the field. To be his teammate would be cool. It’s better than the alternative.”
The possibility of playing alongside Morrison has been a selling point for Muschamp and UF defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin with Garrett.
“Coach Muschamp told me coach Durkin called after he left one of my practices this spring and said, ‘This is the guy. We gotta get this dude.’ He told me coach Durkin did the same thing when he watched Antonio in high school. So they see a repeat coming with that. They want me to be part of that Florida defense right next to Antonio,” he said.
The Gators are in Garrett’s Top 5 along with LSU (his leader), Ole Miss, Tennessee and USC. He plans to officially all five schools in the fall before making a decision. His deciding factors will be relationships with coaches and finding a program with a highly-ranked recruiting class that can win multiple national championships in the coming years.