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A spring unofficial visit to Baton Rouge vaulted LSU to the top of Plainfield (Ill.) South LB Clifton Garrett's list, and the Tigers held onto that spot all the way until the four-star made his commitment official on Tuesday.
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"I picked them because it's a great football tradition," Garrett said. "the program is always in the running to win national championships, the academics are great for a SEC school and the atmosphere on and off game-day is great."
The 6-foot-1, 222-pound Garrett chose LSU over finalists Ole Miss and Tennessee. An official visit was also taken to Florida this fall, but the Gators had bowed out of the race a few weeks before the final decision was made.
"Throughout this whole process we knew these three schools would probably be the last ones throughout this whole thing," Garrett said after his decision was made. "We kept a check board when we were on official visits on things we liked and things we didn't like, and at the end we compared all three schools."
Garrett's decision was actually made well in advance of his public announcement on Tuesday and was sealed following a Nov. 23 official visit to Baton Rouge.
"I went down to LSU for the Texas A&M game and that was a huge game," Garrett said. "That was the first team I had seen shut down Johnny Manziel. Coach [John] Chavis definitely knows how to game plan for good teams like that.
"It was just a great experience down there. I got a chance to spend a lot of time with the coaching staff ... and Baton Rouge in general is just a really nice place. I like it down there a lot."
LSU freshman offensive lineman Ethan Pocic was another source of insight for Garrett. They had worked together at Core6 Athletes before Pocic left for Baton Rouge last winter and know each other well. Like Pocic, Garrett could also get a shot to contribute early for the Tigers, who lose their leading tackler at the linebacker position, Lamin Barrow.
In Garrett, LSU is getting the nation's No. 53 overall prospect in the 2014 class and the No. 3 inside linebacker. He finished his senior season with 139 tackles, 2.5 sacks and four fumble recoveries, earning all-state honors from several publications.
Josh Helmholdt is the Midwest Region football recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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