And then Michigan came into the picture. Joshua Garnett enjoyed his official visit to Ann Arbor, so much so that the Wolverines vaulted into the lineman’s top-two schools. And as decision day approached, Garnett’s Twitter feed was filled with Michigan references, and he gushed about the Wolverines during interviews.
Yet when it came time to make a commitment, Garnett ultimately selected Stanford, to the thrill of Cardinalmaniacs everywhere.
“They have a great academic institution, obviously,” Garnett told Scout.com following his decision press conference. “It’s hard to say no when you get accepted into Stanford. They have two first-rounders [on the offensive line] coming out, David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin. They have a great pro-style offense right now. It’s hard to pass that up when you go to the next level. Great coaches like Coach Bloomgren, Coach Shaw and Coach Hart have been recruiting me hard. Just great guys I’ll really be able to mesh with. The players are really great guys who I feel like I’m exactly like.”
Garnett is a five-star lineman on Scout.com, and a high four-star recruit on Rivals.com, 247sports.com, and ESPN.com. He’s ranked among the top-75 of all players nationally by each site; his average rank across the four sites is 46.75.
Garnett will be the highest-rated recruit the Cardinal has signed since 2002, when they inked Julian Jenkins and Trent Edwards. Class of 2004 signee Alex Fletcher was also a five-star on Scout.com, but received a lower rating by Rivals.com. ESPN.com and 247sports.com started evaluating recruits for the class of 2006 and 2011, respectively.
Garnett also joins Fletcher as the lone five-star offensive linemen (by Scout.com) the Card has signed in the recruiting service era (since 2001).
Offer sheet perspective
Garnett’s offer sheet reads like a list of traditional powers. From Miami to USC, Notre Dame to Nebraska, and Oklahoma to Auburn, Garnett was one of the most sought-after recruits in the country. Garnett’s reported offer list is the best of any Stanford offensive line recruit since Fletcher, and joins a handful of Cardinal recruits, like 2012 commits Nick Davidson, Brandon Fanaika and Shuler, as prospects to have offers from national powers in multiple conferences.
In my opinion, Garnett’s offer list is the most impressive for a Stanford offensive line recruit since Fletcher, narrowly surpassing Class of 2006 star Allen Smith.
Stanford will have at least one vacant guard spot, and possibly two, depending on whether David Yankey transitions to left tackle. While Kevin Danser, Cole Underwood, and others will provide formidable competition, there will be ample opportunity for a true freshman to earn a starting nod at one of the interior line positions. Given the current composition of the recruiting class, and the fact that the current uncommitted Stanford targets are both tackles, Garnett and Shuler figure to have the best chance at earning early playing time.
And if Scout.com’s evaluations of Garnett are correct, he’ll likely see the field sooner than later.
“Garnett can demonstrate in just a handful of snaps why he's one of the premier linemen in the country,” said Brandon Huffman, Scout.com’s West Coast recruiting analyst. “Garnett's drive-blocking skills are second to none. He gets his man and makes him skate. He's got tremendous athleticism, flexibility, gets good knee bend, and has a nasty streak that comes out. He also has a high football IQ and his quickness off the ball is top-notch.”
Body control, drive-blocking skills and flexibility are listed as positive traits for Garnett on his Scout.com profile page, while arm-length is his only negative.
The Bootleg’s expert recruiting analyst, former Card defensive back Garry Cobb Jr., feels Garnett has the abilities to see the field in his first year on The Farm.
“Garnett would be a one of the rare offensive linemen that would be a legitimate candidate to see significant action as a true freshman,” Cobb wrote.
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