Five-star LB Garrett commits to Tigers

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.

The Tigers move from No. 15 to No. 12 in Rivals.com, No. 20 to 13th at Scout.com and No. 12 to 11th at 24/7 Sports.

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.