COLLEGE STATION, Texas — On the first day of preseason training camp, Texas A&M freshman defensive end Myles Garrett stalked around the Bright Football Complex in a tight Superman shirt.
Bold? Sure. But so far, Garrett has done plenty to live up to superhero status for the Aggies’ defense.
Garrett, from Arlington, Texas, quickly made his presence felt for the No. 6 Aggies. A five-star recruit who was ranked No. 4 overall in the ESPN 300, Garrett was an impact player, collecting 5.5 sacks in Texas A&M’s first three games, tying the school’s freshman record held by Sam Adams and Damontre Moore.
“I guess he's doing all right,” coach Kevin Sumlin said jokingly.
No recruit had more hype and expectation in the recruiting process than Garrett. At 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, he was physically ready to join the lineup immediately and showed up this summer as one of the strongest players on the team, thanks to a strong weight-room work ethic that dates to his days at Martin High.
He began to open the eyes of the coaching staff during preseason training camp. The Aggies have one of the country’s best offensive lines, and when he started beating the guys across from him, Sumlin, defensive coordinator Mark Snyder and defensive line coach Terry Price knew they had something special.
“We've got two pretty good tackles in Germain Ifedi and Cedric [Ogbuehi],” Sumlin said. “Our line is pretty good. For a guy to walk in here and have the success he had during two-a-days [is impressive]. Did he win all the time? No. But against those guys, a lot of time, guys don't win any. He's had his moments with every guy on that offensive line.”
Price said the biggest deficiency on the 2013 defense – and thus, the biggest priority in 2014 recruiting – was adding speed to the edge.
“So we went out and tried to find the best we could find,” Price said.
Garrett has that speed, along with a host of pass- rush moves. He’s not being asked to do everything just yet – the Aggies have a healthy rotation of defensive ends that includes sophomore Daeshon Hall, junior Julien Obioha and freshmen Qualen Cunningham and Jarrett Johnson. The staff is doing its best to keep Garrett fresh, so he stays effective.
But he’s on his way to making a permanent mark. Garrett is on pace to break Jadeveon Clowney’s SEC record for sacks by a freshman (eight).
There is still much ahead for the Aggies’ prized recruit of the 2014 class. But so far, so good for Garrett.
“He's still a work in progress and he still has a lot of work to do,” Snyder said, “but boy, is he talented.”