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The official visit season has started for Plainfield (Ill.) South four-star linebacker Clifton Garrett, and a weekend spent in Gainesville, Fla., has set a bar other teams have to shoot for.
"This Florida visit stacks up as a 10," Garrett said. "I was very impressed with what I saw and had a really good time. I got a chance to look at everything I wanted to look at from Florida, and this was definitely a visit I enjoyed.
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Hailing from the Midwest, Garrett said he felt right at home in the Southern state and SEC culture.
"It was really a place I definitely feel I could live for four years and play at for four years," Garrett said. "They have a really good coaching staff, and really good, defensive-minded coaches as far as Coach [Will] Muschamp and Coach [D.J.] Durkin. Those guys really know what they are doing.
"They said I could come in and be an immediate impact on the defense because of the way I play football. They told me if I did come down there I would definitely have the chance to come in and earn some playing time as a freshman. They told me they liked me a lot and like the upside I have."
Garrett said he spent time with most of the Florida players and specifically noted freshman defensive back Vernon Hargreaves and linebacker Antonio Morrison, who is another Chicagoland product.
"I got a chance to sit down with Antonio, and he told me not to believe all the hype you hear about the Illinois guys can't come down to the SEC and ball with the Florida boys," Garrett said. "He said to ball out, work hard and you'll definitely get your opportunity, and that's the same thing I heard from the coaches.
"We went out to eat at a restaurant the next day, and I got to hang out with [Morrison], the entire coaching staff and their families and also the other top recruits there."
Garrett was one of four official visitors in Gainesville this weekend. He knew several from off-season camps such as the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by Under Armour.
"I was with Jamal Adams and Lorenzo Carter," Garrett said. "We were together the whole weekend, so we were definitely vibing off each other and enjoying each other's company. We all get along really well. If we all ended up at the same school, we'd definitely help out that defense."
Although Garrett plans to take four more official visits before making his decision, the four-star linebacker does not expect the feeling from this trip to subside soon.
"This was my first visit, so it definitely set the tone for the other [schools]," he said. "I am going to be excited about taking those other four official visits I have and just can't wait to sit down and compare all these schools together at the end and see which one stacks up the best."
Garrett's next official visit will be to Tennessee the weekend of Oct. 4, followed by an Oct. 18 weekend official visit to Ole Miss. LSU and Oregon are expected to receive his final two official visits, and the dates of those trips. will be scheduled later in the process.
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