COLUMBUS — The first senior season for Haskell Garrett has been so remarkable, he’s willing to consider another one at Ohio State.
Thanks to the free year of eligibility due to the unusual circumstances created by the pandemic, even seniors have the option to return for another season if they want. And while Garrett has certainly boosted his NFL Draft stock with an impressive six-game run that is earning some All-America nods, he could potentially still benefit even more individually with a full, healthy, uninterrupted campaign next year.
Obviously there’s no question the Buckeyes would welcome him back with open arms. But other than looking for clues with Garrett not participating in the virtual Senior Day festivities this month, neither side is ready to talk much about it right now with all focus trained on Clemson on Friday night in the Sugar Bowl.
“No, I haven’t [made a decision],” Garrett said after practice on Tuesday. “I’m still debating that. That’s something I will have to go over with myself and my family after the season. I’m just trying to stay in the moment and stay focused so I can contribute as much as I can to the team.”
There’s no doubt that Garrett has given the Buckeyes more than just about anybody could have imagined this season. Even setting aside the miracle that he’s even playing after getting shot in the face in August, Garrett’s first three years had only included glimpses at his ability to disrupt games on the interior of the defensive line — and nothing really close to his production so far this season.
Haskell Garrett has always been blessed with raw strength, impressive agility for a big man and a position coach in Larry Johnson who can maximize those physical tools. It perhaps took longer for Garrett to develop than might have been expected when he arrived as a four-star prospect out of Las Vegas. But there’s no disputing the results now with 17 tackles, four tackles for loss, two sacks, an interception and a touchdown in just six games of work.
His impact has been undeniable for anybody paying attention, which apparently many All-Big Ten voters weren’t since Garrett was inexplicably left off all three all-conference teams in the media vote. He’s since made up for it with a pair of All-America selections, but all he really wants at the moment is a College Football Playoff victory.
“I’m really honored, but it’s not just me out there,” Garrett said. “It’s a group of guys. So, it’s not just only my honor — my success is their success. We share all success. So, I’m really honored, but I’m more focused on winning this game. … I’m trying to stay in the moment.
“I can celebrate all the accolades and everything I’ve accomplished myself after the season. I’m more worried about this team we’re playing and the game we’ve got coming up on Friday.”
Haskell Garrett definitely won’t be done with the Buckeyes with a win in the Sugar Bowl.
But even with a loss, there’s a chance he might stick around as well.