Even though Plainfield South four-star senior inside linebacker recruit Clifton Garrett (6-foot-2, 222 pounds) waited to announce his college choice to LSU until a press conference Tuesday, Garrett actually knew his college destination much earlier.
"I actually knew it was going to be LSU right after my official visit (Nov. 22)," Garrett said. "I just came away knowing that I found the best fit for me and the place where I wanted to go to school in LSU."
Garrett made his college choice known inside Plainfield South's auditorium filled with family, friends and students alike.
"The support today and really throughout my entire recruiting process was amazing here at Plainfield South. I was hoping that a few of the kids would come by after school ... to walk in and see some many student and teachers here just makes my day even more special."
Garrett narrowed down his final three school choices to LSU, Ole Miss and Tennessee.
"I knew that in the end it was going to come down to those three or four schools (which also included Florida). I just feel like a part of the team and a part of the family at LSU. I just always feel at home and comfortable at LSU, and I can't wait to continue my career there."
Garrett now becomes the sixth top-20 recruit in Rivals.com's Illinois top-45 rankings for the Class of 2014 to pledge to a Southeastern Conference school. The SEC still has a very strong chance of landing two more top-ranked Illinois recruits in Crete-Monee linebacker Nyles Morgan and Bolingbrook defensive back Parrker Westphal.
Garrett pointed towards the strength of the SEC as another factor in his final college choice.
"It's big, big football in the SEC. The whole atmosphere and excitement is hard to describe. On all of the visits I went on in the SEC, every school just had an amazing game-day atmosphere and just great fan support. It's definitely a chance to play in the best conference in the nation on national TV every week. That alone is pretty hard to turn down when you have that opportunity. I also was impressed with the academic support at LSU."
Garrett is ranked by Rivals.com as the top Illinois recruit in the Class of 2014 and the No. 53 player in the nation.