Wednesday, the journey begins. High school football teams across the state of Illinois will begin the 2013 season with the first official day of practice.
From the hardly known to the nationally known, once the teams line up and begin to practice, all of the recruiting madness, rankings, phone calls, tweets and hype stops for just a few hours.
So with the national focus and spotlight that has been on Plainfield South senior linebacker Clifton Garrett (6-foot-2, 222 pounds), the first day of practice can't be too exciting anymore, can it?
"I can't wait until (Wednesday)," Garrett gushed. "We actually have a team meeting (Tuesday night), and I'm too hyped for that already. It's my senior season, and it's time for us to go all out and really make this season count."
[RIVALS: DeLaSalle senior Roberts slows it down]
Garrett has played in just one state playoff game in his career, which came during his sophomore year, and missing the postseason last fall still hasn't sat well.
"It was rough not making the playoffs last year. After getting a taste the year before, you just can't describe the feeling of playoff football. We have been working hard, and I think we have a good group to go back to the state playoffs and do something this year."
Garrett, who is ranked by Rivals.com as the 55th best recruit in the country in the Class of 2014, is also looking forward to showing the recruiting world a much improved player in 2013.
"It gets tiring to just talk about my game to coaches and recruiters and media," he said. "I can just go out now and show everyone what I can do. I was able to go to some great camps this summer and worked with some of the best position coaches in the country. I've learned so much from the coaches and just competing against the top players in the country all summer long. I just want to go out and show what I can do now and stop talking about it."
[RELATED: 2014 Illinois recruiting update]
Despite having scholarship offers from literally every major college program in the country and official visits set so far to Florida (Sep. 20), Tennessee (Oct. 10) and Ole Miss (Oct. 18) Garrett still has school, his team and his season as his top priorities.
"We want to create a legacy for ourselves and for Plainfield South," he said. "We've talked about that since freshman year. We want to get back in the state playoffs then just focus everything on one game at a time. We just don't want to be happy getting to the state playoffs. We want to make a deep run and shoot for a state title. Let's face it, our school and really our whole District 202 hasn't had a great record in the state playoffs. We want to be the first team to really change that and leave our mark."